Researcher receives prestigious award for environmental toxicology research

A University of Plymouth academic has received a prestigious award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to environmental toxicology.

Awadhesh Jha, Professor in Genetic Toxicology and Ecotoxicology, has been selected to receive the Jim Parry Award from the UK Environmental Mutagenesis Society (UKEMS). The biennial award was established in 2011 in honour of a pioneer in the field of genetic toxicology, with the winners chosen by the Society’s Committee.

Professor Jha, who heads the University’s Environmental and Applied Biology Research Group, is a leading expert on assessing the impacts of chemicals, radiation and other stressors – including some of the most pressing priority and emerging pollutants – on the environment.

Adopting multidisciplinary approaches, Professor Jha’s research involves the elucidation of fundamental mechanisms of toxicity including the assessment of genetic damage induced by environmental stressors on biological systems.

He has developed many novel methods to assess the hazards and risks posed by man-made pollutants, particularly on aquatic organisms, and his work also promotes developments of alternative methods to reduce the use of live fish for biological studies.

Professor Jha’s work has been funded by the European Union, government bodies, industry, charities and other organisations and has been highly valued by industry and regulatory bodies.

Awadhesh Jha

Professor Awadhesh Jha

Professor Jha, who joined the University of Plymouth 25 years ago in a lectureship sponsored by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, said:
“I am delighted to receive this coveted award from the UKEMS. When I first started working in this field, there were only very few researchers looking at the fundamental mechanisms of potential impacts of human activity on the DNA of aquatic and marine species. Our collaborative work has helped to advance our understanding and start to appreciate some of the steps we could take to reverse the harm our actions are causing to our planet.”

Established in 1974, UKEMS is one of the most reputed and influential societies in the world. Its Jim Parry Award aims to recognise scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of mutation research or damage to DNA, the blueprint of life, which has significant implications for the health of humans and the environment. This biennial award consists of an inscribed medal and a cheque for £1000.

Professor Gareth Jenkins, Professor Of Molecular Carcinogenesis at Swansea University and current president of UKEMS, heads up the UK Government’s Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment. He added:

“The UK Environmental Mutagen Society (UKEMS) is delighted to announce that Professor Awadhesh Jha has been awarded the 2021 Jim Parry award and will give a talk at the 2022 annual meeting in Harrogate. This award is the highest honour bestowed by UKEMS and recognises the long-lasting contribution made by internationally-renowned scientists in the field of DNA damage research. Professor Jha was nominated for the award due to his significant achievements in the field of environmental mutagenesis research and his standing in the field of mutagenesis.”
To celebrate his award, Professor Jha will deliver the Award lecture at the Society’s 44th Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place from July 3-6, 2022 at the Royal Hall in Harrogate.

ecotoxicology lab photo

The Genetic Toxicology and Ecotoxicology Research Group

Working across a wide range of themes including cancer biology, radioecology, molecular and in vitro toxicology, ecotoxicology and aquatic biology

Find out more about the group and its projects

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