Arthur Grollman, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacological Sciences, Evelyn G. Glick Professor of Experimental Medicine, and Director of the Zickler Laboratory of Chemical Biology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has received the 2011 Environmental Mutagen Society (EMS) Award. The honor is conferred annually by the EMS in recognition of outstanding research contributions in the area of environmental mutagenesis.
Grollman received the EMS Award for his fundamental studies on the mechanisms of mutagenesis and DNA repair and his public health investigations linking environmental mutagens to human disease. Previous awardees include scientists who have pioneered groundbreaking discoveries on DNA damage and repair.
“Some very distinguished scientists in the field have received the EMS Award, and I am honored to be included in their company,” said Grollman, who joined the Stony Brook faculty in 1974 as Professor of Medicine and founding Chair of the Department of Pharmacological Sciences.
“The impact of Dr. Grollman’s work is vast and includes landmark achievements in the area of environmental mutagenesis research and his impressive work on aristolochic acid, which has alerted scientists to the fact that aristolochic acid-induced nephropathy and urothelial cancer are ongoing public health concerns worldwide,” said Mugimane Manjanatha, Chair of the EMS Communications Committee.
In recent years Grollman and his associates conducted a series of studies that established Balkan endemic nephropathy, Chinese herb nephropathy, and aristolochic acid (AA) nephropathy as related diseases caused by ingestion of AA, a component of plant extracts of Aristolochia species.
According to the EMS, Grollman and his associates provided a detailed, coherent, and irrefutable set of data establishing the mechanism of AA-induced carcinogenesis. These included analyses of p53 mutations in humans exposed to AA, and evidence that AA-induced DNA adducts produce the spectrum of mutation observed in the human p53 gene. Grollman’s work established AA as the environmental cause of Balkan endemic nephropathy, whose etiology until his groundbreaking work was unknown.
Grollman’s studies on site-specific mutagenesis represent an important scientific advance. His work in this area led the way in terms of establishing for the first time the mutagenic specificity of single, defined DNA lesions. Grollman and his team also played a critical role in establishing that DNA polymerases incorporate dAMP and dCMP opposite 8-oxoguanine. Consequently, his pioneering work in this area is essential in terms of understanding the mutagenic spectrum induced by this frequently oxidized base.
Furthermore, Grollman and his collaborators made landmark contributions to current understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which DNA repair proteins, including DNA glycosylases, DNA polymerases, and endonucleases, process oxidative DNA damage.
Grollman’s research interests focus on the biological consequences of DNA damage as they relate to molecular mechanisms of DNA replication, mutagenesis, and DNA repair. In addition to his group’s ongoing studies on the toxicogenomics of aristolochic acid nephropathy and associated urothelial cancer, he directs a long-standing, NIH-supported research program on Oxidative DNA Damage.
A recognized expert on the clinical pharmacology of herbal medicines, Grollman has testified on this subject before the White House Commission on Alternative and Complementary Health Policy; the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; and the Governor of New York’s Task Force on Life and Law.
Grollman has served on numerous scientific advisory committees and editorial boards, including the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He has received two American Cancer Society Scholar Awards, a MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute, and was recently elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.