Former PROTECT Trainee Stephanie Eick Joins Emory University as an Assistant Professor

Former PROTECT Trainee Stephanie Eick has joined the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health as an Assistant Professor in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health. Dr. Eick began her work with Emory in September and is on the tenure track.

Dr. Eick is an environmental epidemiologist, focused on reproductive and perinatal health. More specifically, she studies how non-chemical stressors can intensify the harmful effects of chemicals, and what impacts this has on maternal and child health outcomes. She also examines the biological mechanisms that lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth or low birth weight.

Her first year at Emory is focused on getting her research program started. She is most excited about the chance to lead her own group of students in research she is passionate about. “I’m really looking forward to be able to drive my own research agenda and to continue to work with and mentor graduate students,” she said.

Dr. Eick has found that her time as a PROTECT trainee helped in the development of her academic research career. She joined PROTECT while pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. As a trainee, she had the opportunity to connect with fellow trainees and researchers from institutions other than her own, and she developed an extensive network in the academic world. This network helped her gain teaching and research experiences that led her to Emory. “For example, I had the KC Donnelly [Externship] a few years ago and I went to UC Berkeley where I worked with Craig Steinmaus. During my postdoc at UCSF, Craig and I co-taught a course together, which was really valuable teaching experience and was helpful on my academic CV.” she said. The professional network Dr. Eick established through PROTECT has also been a valuable place to turn to talk through research ideas. Some of the trainees she met through PROTECT have also recently started academic jobs, and they are good sources for discussions on research, teaching, and mentorship. “It’s been really fun to grow intellectually together and now be in a position to bounce ideas and develop collaborations that have expanded beyond the original trainee program,” she said.

Dr. Eick will continue her work with PROTECT while at Emory. She currently works on her ECHO Opportunities and Infrastructure Fund (OIF) project, “Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Biomarkers in Relation to Birth Outcomes in Four ECHO Cohorts,” where she pools data from ECHO cohorts, including PROTECT, and looks at the relationship between oxidative stress and preterm birth. Dr. Eick also hopes to collaborate with PROTECT to advance research that examines how chemical exposures influence maternal and child health. Beyond this, there is more work with the PROTECT Center possibly coming. “One of my collaborators from my postdoc, Julia Varsharsky, also just started as an Assistant Professor at Northeastern and we’ve talked about potential collaborations within PROTECT and ECHO moving forward,” she said.

Congratulations to Stephanie on this huge accomplishment!