Investigator-Initiated Research Translation: Project 3

Project 3: Role of Paraoxonases (PONs) in Modulating Cadmium and Manganese Neurotoxicity


Killer whale jumping out of the water

Researchers from Project 3 have continued to take a range of approaches to research translation.

In early March of 2020, Judit Marsillach, a principal investigator on Project 3, traveled to Washington DC to participate in the Michael J Fox Foundation's Research Hill Day, partnering with a group of four scientists from Massachusetts to meet with staff of six members of Congress, including Representative Pramila Jayapal and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray from Washington. Marsillach helped demonstrate the importance of federal funding for research in support of the Michael J Fox Foundation's goal to increase budgets for the NIH and the Department of Defense's Parkinson's Research Program.  

In June of 2019, Marsillach traveled to Winston-Salem NC to participate in the Data Innovation Lab that pairs biologists with computer scientists to tackle problems in rural health using big data approaches. The Data Science Innovation Lab program is funded by the National Institute of Health Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K), a trans-National Institute of Health initiative that supports the development of innovative approaches to integrate big data into biomedical research. The hope of the Data Science Innovation Lab is to form interdisciplinary teams to use pre-existing datasets from rural communities to help improve their public health.

In 2018, Clem Furlong and Judit Marsillach helped translate Project 3 science for members of Governor Inslee’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Task Force. A fact sheet developed as part of the effort is available here. Afterward, Furlong and manager of research translation, Lisa Hayward, were invited to present results to general audiences at a Welcome the Orcas event for the public hosted by The Whale Trail and for an “Orca Talks” evening public science series at a coffee shop in West Seattle.  Dr. Clement Furlong continues to respond to questions about marine mammal PON 1 status, most recently answering questions from Tim Ragen, a marine mammal expert working on Southern Resident Killer Whale recovery.

Project 3's plan for research translation can be seen here. This plan was developed using a template provided by the America Association for the Advancement of Science. Project 3's research translation map uses a framework developed by NIEHS to visualize translation work accomplishments to date and guide future efforts to expand translation.