Environmental Health Sciences Lab Members Receive Undergraduate Honors

UMass Amherst students Christopher Clark and Joseph McGaunn

Christopher Clark (left) and Joseph McGaunn

May 22, 2020

Two Class of 2020 graduates who worked in labs run by Environmental Health Sciences faculty members received recognition for their accomplishments in the areas of leadership and creative scholarship.

Christopher Clark, a Commonwealth Honors College student who received a dual degree in environmental science and STEM-German, was one of ten members of the Class of 2020 to be recognized as 21st Century Leaders for their exemplary achievement, initiative, and leadership. Clark worked in the research lab of Associate Professor Alicia Timme-Laragy doing toxicology research.

Clark’s leadership experience includes working on the steering committee and as a community organizer for Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves, which led an effort that resulted in a CDC-sponsored exposure assessment and an increase in regulation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Joseph McGaunn, a Commonwealth Honors College student with a double major in biochemistry and molecular biology and psychology, was one of eight University of Massachusetts Amherst students to receive the Spring 2020 Rising Researcher award in recognition of their unconventional and inspiring approaches to research, scholarship, and creative activity. McGuann has been involved in five research projects in the research lab of Associate Professor Alexander Suvorov. McGaunn investigated the role of molecular mechanisms in mediating interactions between an individual’s genetics and their environment, in transferring non-genetic information from one generation to the next, and the clinical applications for such mechanisms.

McGaunn has presented his work at the Northeast Society of Toxicology Regional Chapter annual meeting and the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology, which Suvorov says is the most respected toxicological forum in the world.

“Joseph will coauthor four manuscripts that will be published by my lab. He has tremendous promise as a young researcher,” says Suvorov.

Both Clark and McGaunn received Pfizer Awards from the Society of Toxicology in recognition of their work in the Timme-Laragy and Suvorov labs.