NIEHS, NTP director receives honorary doctorate

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., will be presented the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Rochester May 18 at commencement ceremonies in Rochester, N.Y.

In a letter to Dr. Olden, University of Rochester President Thomas H. Jackson said, Your career at the National Institutes of Health and your dedication to cancer research are an inspiration to our graduates and the entire University community.

Born in poverty on an eastern Tennessee farm, Dr. Olden was the first African American to direct one of the federal governments National Institutes of Health. He is also the director of the National Toxicology Program which coordinates toxicology studies within the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered at NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Dr. Olden is an internationally recognized researcher in cancer biology as well as an innovator in environmental health sciences who has pressed for action on the health disparities faced by the poor and racial minorities, and for the more active participation of the American people in the priority setting process in medical research.

Through Town Meetings across the United States and research partnerships with communities, he has provided opportunities for citizens to have input into the priority setting process of the NIEHS.

His tenure at NIEHS, beginning in 1991, has also been marked by the application of genetic tools to the study of environmental toxins and by NIEHS researchers partnering to isolate the first breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. Many women in breast cancer-prone families are now tested for these genes.

In conferring the degree, University officials said, There is no stronger advocate for funding genetic research than Olden. He oversaw the development of the Environmental Genome Project, which studies humans varying genet

Contact: Bill Grigg
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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