Congratulations to Nelson Pace, PhD, SM, recipient of this year’s Marie W. Taubeneck Award!
The Marie W. Taubeneck Award recognizes graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have demonstrated great potential in the study of teratology. Dr. Pace has 8 years of experience in the design, implementation, and analysis of epidemiologic studies. While his doctoral research focused on reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric health, including topics ranging from the effect of air pollution on preterm birth to the effect of dietary antioxidants on birth defects, his master’s degree research concentration was neuro-psychiatric epidemiology.
During the course of his career as a birth defects researcher, Dr. Pace says he is motivated by the fact that teratology is “outward looking.” Striving to improve the lives of others he’ll likely never meet through birth defects prevention research is evidence of that global impact. According to Dr. Pace, one of the key successes in this field has been the implementation of folic acid fortification that has been shown to prevent a number of birth defects, namely neural tube defects. While progress has been significant in this particular area, “there is plenty of work to be done,” Dr. Pace notes.
Prior to joining Exponent, where he is currently a scientist, Dr. Pace was a statistician and epidemiologist for the state of North Carolina’s Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. There, he led state-wide studies assessing the risk of mortality among infants born with heart defects. Dr. Pace also held appointments at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he studied the effects of industrial pollutants on birth outcomes; and the University of North Carolina Biostatistics Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, where he built predictive models to assess adherence to dietary guidelines.
For Dr. Pace, it is a tremendous honor to receive the Marie W. Taubeneck Award. He is inspired by the work past and present Society members have done and looks forward to the lifelong learning opportunities the field of teratology affords him. “No professional achievement would give me greater satisfaction than to know that I have helped children live a life unburdened by the pain and hardship of an illness,” he added.
Read more Spotlight articles about this year's awardees.