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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

URI researcher wins Monsanto award for study
of environmental risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease

Poster chosen tops for presentation in neurotoxicology section

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 25, 2003 -- A University of Rhode Island scientist won the Monsanto Award at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology for his poster presentation on environmental risk factors that exacerbate the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.

Riyaz Basha Mahammad, a post-doctoral fellow working with URI Associate Professor Nasser Zawia of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at URI’s College of Pharmacy, was awarded first prize in the society’s Neurotoxicology Specialty Section poster contest. His presentation was on the effects of heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on cells and laboratory rats.

For his first-place entry, Mahammad was awarded a plaque, a $500 prize and a $160 gift check from Taylor & Francis publishing company.
A native of Ulavapadu, India, who now lives in Kingston, Mahammad joined with Zawia to work on molecular neurotoxicology in 2000.

Since joining the department, Mahammad has attended three annual meetings of the Society of Toxicology, the largest meeting in the field of toxicology. At those meetings, he participated in the neurotoxicology poster competitions for the Postdoctoral Fellows, and won the top prize all three times.

At this year’s meeting that was held at Salt Lake City, Utah, he presented his paper titled, "Heavy metals and PCB’s promote beta-amyloid aggregation and their cytotoxicity in PC12 cells."

"I am extremely grateful that my work has been honored by the Society and Monsanto," Mahammad said. "Such support is important in that it helps me continue my work on such a debilitating disease and its causes."

Zawia, his adviser, said the honors accorded Mahammad show that young scientists at the University are at the forefront of biomedical research. "Such honors point out that URI and its researchers are among the best in such important fields. We appreciate the society’s recognition, especially as it calls attention to such a talented scientist."

The Society of Toxicology has 5,200 members from 44 countries. The annual meeting fosters collegial exchange of the latest scientific findings among about 6,000 participants.

For Further Information: Nasser Zawia 401-874-5909

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