Former PROTECT Trainee Max Aung Joins University of South California as an Assistant Professor
Former PROTECT Trainee Max Aung is joining the University of Southern California as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Dr. Aung will be a faculty member at the Keck School of Medicine in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences. This position comes after his time as an Associate Research Scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.
Dr. Aung’s work focuses on investigating the environmental influences on developmental health across the lifecourse. His research examines links between environmental toxicants and changes in people’s bodies, specifically pregnant women, and children.
In his new role, Dr. Aung will work on both research and teaching. His main goal is to develop an integrated research program, and from there teach students about applied data science methods. “I am really excited to evolve my research program to integrate environmental health data science and environmental justice, and in my process of doing this, mentoring the next generation of trainees to learn the research methods that I’ll be implementing,” he said.
Dr. Aung will continue working with PROTECT and ECHO through several projects and collaborations. While Dr. Aung was a Project 1 postdoctoral trainee at the University of Michigan, he was awarded an Opportunities and Infrastructure (OIF) grant to pursue research questions across multiple ECHO cohorts. He will continue his work under this grant, studying the impacts of endocrine disrupting chemicals on infant neurodevelopment. He is also pursuing exciting new research projects and proposals with PROTECT data and researchers including Project 1 Investigator Dr. Deborah Watkins and PROTECT collaborator Dr. Emily Zimmerman, as well as multi-cohort projects with Dr. Stephanie Eick, a former PROTECT trainee who is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Emory University, and Emory University Professor Donghai Liang.
Collaborating on research has always been a part of Dr. Aung’s PROTECT work, and it will be a big component of his role at USC. “Now, in this stage of my career, I am very much doing [collaborative projects], with several collaborators all across the country and also combining work from multiple cohorts,” he said. Dr. Aung says that the PROTECT trainee experience helped show him how to build and maintain the connections that lead to these meaningful research collaborations. “It was helpful to see how the senior investigators in the PROTECT cohort identified overlapping collaborative projects, and built on each other’s strengths to pursue new research ideas,” he said. These collaborations have been important throughout his research career, and he looks forward to continuing them. “I’m excited to build new collaborations with colleagues at USC while continuing my great work with all of my current collaborators,” he said.