Postdoc Researcher Receives Prestigious NIH Pathway to Independence Award

Published June 16, 2015 under Research News


Tewodros “Teddy” Rango Godebo, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment

Tewodros “Teddy” Rango Godebo, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has received a coveted NIH K99/R00 award, also called the “NIH Pathway to Independence Award.” 

The purpose of the grant is “to provide research support for outstanding postdoctoral researchers to complete needed training and to transition to an independent research position with a tenure-track (or equivalent) faculty position.” The award provides up to five years of support in two phases—two years of continued postdoctoral support, and up to three years of independent support contingent on securing an independent research position. 

Collaboration with DGHI Faculty Members Helped Make Award Possible

Godebo has collaborated on various projects related to water quality, climate and health with earth and ocean sciences and global health professor and Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) affiliate faculty member Avner Vengosh,  as well as public policy and global health professor Marc Jeuland and environmental policy professor Erika Weinthal. His K99/R00 grant application included preliminary data generated through a project funded by a DGHI pilot grant awarded to Vengosh—Godebo’s mentor. DGHI professor Liz Turner provided statistical consultation to Godebo during the grant application process.

Godebo Studies Effect of Contaminants on Environment and Health

Godebo’s research interests lie in understanding the occurrence of naturally occurring contaminants—mainly fluoride, arsenic, cadmium and lead—on the environment and human health. The K99/R00 research focuses on developing novel and non-invasive biomarkers for detecting various forms of enamel and skeletal disorders linked to fluoride exposure, which affects the health of millions of people. 

One particular hotspot for such disorders is the Ethiopian Rift Valley region, a unique geographic setting well-known for fluoride contamination. This area is an ideal “natural laboratory” to explore the relationship between a wide range of fluoride exposure and diverse manifestations of fluoride-related health consequences. 

In addition to the above-mentioned collaborators, Godebo will be working with Duke faculty members Joel Meyer, Julia Krauchanko and Harold Erickson. 

Non-Duke partners include Redda Tekle-Haimanot from the Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and Gary Whiford from Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia.

Learn more about Godebo’s research.