Newswise — Nika Larian, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, has been awarded a Science & Technology Policy Fellowship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) aim to support evidence-based policymaking by leveraging the knowledge and analytical mindset of science and engineering experts, and foster leaders for a strong U.S. science and technology enterprise. Each year, the program adds to a growing corps over 3,400 strong of policy-savvy leaders working across academia, government, nonprofits and industry.

During her time at UK, Larian has served as a trainee in UK’s Superfund Research Center and worked in the lab of UK’s Vice President of Research and Professor of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences Lisa Cassis. Larian’s research focuses on the effects of environmental pollutants like PCBs on human health outcomes, as well as new ways to treat antibiotic resistant sepsis caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

AAAS fellows serve yearlong assignments in the federal government. Larian will be placed at the Center for Nutrition in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Resilience and Food Security in Washington D.C., where she will use her research expertise to impact policies that shape our comprehensive food system.

“The University of Kentucky paved a groundwork of nutrition expertise and research rigor that enabled the translation of my research background beyond the laboratory. This fellowship offers an excellent opportunity to apply this foundation to a global framework supporting nutrition and I am thrilled to use my nutrition background to direct a tangible effect on global health and food security,” said Larian.

“Dr. Cassis serves as an excellent role model of increasing the awareness and accessibility of research, broadening our impact as scientists beyond the lab bench,” Larian said. “As a mentor, she supported my journey as a multidimensional scientist by encouraging me to write a UK Food Connection Grant, work with local organizations supporting youth nutrition education, attend science policy workshops, and participate in student-led advocacy groups.”

The office of the Vice President for Research in collaboration with the Office of Federal Relations fosters experiences for UK undergraduate and graduate students that equip alumni to excel in these highly competitive fellowships.

The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, founded in 1848 with the mission to advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people. AAAS includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals and is publisher of the Science family of journals.

The AAAS STPF program began in 1973. Today, STPF places more than 250 fellows each year in all branches of federal government. Visit to learn more about the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.

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