Researcher honored for findings on hazards of BPA

Gail Prins

Gail Prins, professor of physiology and director of the andrology laboratory at the UIC College of Medicine. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services. Click image to download.

Gail Prins, director of the andrology laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago and best known for investigating the link between prostate cancer risk and BPA, a common chemical additive in plastics, has received the 2014 Distinguished Andrologist Award from the American Society of Andrology.

The award, the highest given by the society, is presented each year to an individual for outstanding contributions in the field of male physiology and health.

“Dr. Prins has made very important contributions not only to our understanding of how the prostate gland works and the factors that impact its health, but also to public health through her research into how fetal exposure to chemicals found in plastics and known to be present in the urine of a majority of pregnant women in the United States increases the risk for prostate cancer,” said Dr. Dimitri Azar, dean of the UIC College of Medicine.

“Her award is very well deserved, and we are proud to have Dr. Prins on our faculty.”

Prins, professor of urology and physiology in the UIC College of Medicine, focuses on hormonal regulation of prostate gland development and prostate cancer. In 2013, her groundbreaking research provided the first direct evidence that exposure during development to BPA, or bisphenol A, a plastic additive found in thousands of products, increases the risk for prostate cancer in human prostate tissue. She presented her findings in June at the ENDO meeting in San Francisco and later published in the journal Endocrinology.

Prins received her doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the UIC College of Medicine. She was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow in the department of urology and the Center for Reproductive Science at Northwestern University.

She has published more than 160 research papers and is funded by multiple grants from the NIH. She has served on several NIH study sections and advisory committees, the on the integration panel for the Defense department’s prostate cancer research program. A past president of the American Society of Andrology, Prins is an editor of Endocrinology, associate editor of Andrology, and an editorial board member of Prostate and Reproductive Toxicology.

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