Strakovsky Awarded 2021 Lou Guillette Jr. Outstanding Young Investigator by HEEDS

January 17, 2022

IIT-affiliated faculty member, Dr. Rita Strakovsky, was recently awarded the 2021 Lou Guillette Jr. Outstanding Young Investigator by HEEDS - Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disrupter Strategies. Strakovsky, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, will receive a $5,000 honorarium, a glass plaque and an invited presentation at the recent Prenatal Programming and Toxicity conference. 

HEEDS is a coalition of scientists who are working to evaluate the effect of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on human and wildlife health. HEEDS focuses on improving communication, coordination and collaboration among scientists working on EDCs. HEEDS also aims to educate policy makers, regulatory agencies, physicians, and the general public. The award, in honor of Lou Guillette, Jr., is given to an early-career scientist working in some aspect of endocrine disruptor research. Someone who is recognized as a creative, dedicated scientist who at an early stage of their career is already having an impact on human health and who has a special love of and dedication to mentoring. Someone who, like Lou Guillette, Jr., is a good communicator and who is willing to go beyond to help trainees succeed.

Dr. Strakovsky received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences in 2011 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then completed her postdoctoral training in Dr. Susan Schantz laboratory in the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois. 

While a trainee, Dr. Strakovsky obtained extraordinary training in the basic science fields of nutritional sciences and toxicology. Now, she has used her training to be an extremely productive and successful Assistant Professor. She already has published several important manuscripts in top-ranked, peer-reviewed journals and presented abstracts at international meetings. Her manuscripts and abstracts are well-written, interesting, and novel contributions to the fields of endocrine disruptor research, nutritional sciences, environmental health, epidemiology, and toxicology. Although Dr. Strakovsky only has been an Assistant Professor since 2017, she has obtained a R01 grant and a R03 grant from NIH as PI. These grants are highly competitive and it is a testament to Dr. Strakovsky that she received them so early in her career.

In addition to conducting high-quality research, Dr. Strakovsky serves as an outstanding teacher and role model for undergraduates and graduate students. She truly wants to improve our understanding of the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals and diet on the metabolic and reproductive systems so that we can develop preventive and treatment strategies for adverse reproductive outcomes that result from chemical and dietary exposures. Dr. Strakovsky is committed to a long-term career that involves basic science and epidemiologic investigation. She also wants to train future scientists and educate the public about dietary and environmental chemical issues.

To read the orginal article on the HEEDS website, please visit: