PROTECT Trainee and Wetterhahn Award Recipient Elana Elkin Begins New Position at San Diego State University
PROTECT Project 2 postdoc Elana Elkin will transition to a new position as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at San Diego State University’s School of Public Health.
Dr. Elkin’s new role will involve both teaching and research. She will teach and mentor graduate students in the Environmental Health Division of the school while she will continue to build her own wet laboratory research on toxicology and pregnancy outcomes.
Though Dr. Elkin will be at a new institution, she will continue to work and partner with PROTECT through her work. She plans to continue collaborating with Project 2, specifically on ongoing research that looks at how Superfund Site chemicals can cause injury to the placenta.
Dr. Elkin has been a long time and widely recognized member of PROTECT. She was the first PROTECT trainee to receive the prestigious Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award and get the chance to present at the SRP Annual Meeting in 2019. She was awarded the Edward W. Carney Trainee Award at the 2020 Annual Society of Toxicology Meeting for the quality of her abstracts and impact in reproductive and developmental toxicology. She has also received multiple first place poster awards at scientific conferences, including at the 2016 SRP Annual Meeting and the 2021 Annual Society of Toxicology Meeting.
Dr. Elkin acknowledges that her PROTECT trainee experience prepared her for the transition to academia. The yearly Individual Development Plan (IDP) gave her the opportunity to articulate professional goals like publishing a manuscript or writing a grant. Dr. Elkin also presented yearly at the SRP Annual Meeting, getting the chance to practice research communication and network with colleagues. The annual PROTECT retreat in combination with PROTECT webinars taught Dr. Elkin more about interdisciplinary research. “[They] helped me learn about the interdisciplinary nature of P42 centers, and how toxicology research works with other disciplines such as epidemiology, environmental engineering, and geology to address complicated exposure issues,” she said.
Dr. Elkin is most excited to take the skills she learned as a student and PROTECT trainee and implement them into her own lab with her own research agenda. She now has the chance to pursue what she is most interested in, and to guide students in the process of answering questions on the role that exposure to environmental contaminants may play in adverse birth outcomes.