Engineering grad honored with Herman Schneider Alumni Award
January 23, 2020
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CINCINNATIThe Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG) at the University of Cincinnati (UC) has been a regional stronghold for research since the early 1990s, examining the interplay between genetics and environment (GXE) with special attention to epigenetics, big data analytics, the early origins of disease and translation of GXE to precision disease prevention.
Housed in the Department of Environmental Health at the College of Medicine, the CEG recently received a grant renewal for more than $8 million from the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), over the next five years, taking the Center into its 30th year of continual funding.
"This realm of epigenetics continues to be so important, as we learn more about health and disease as a continuumwe are finding that disease risk is laid down very early in life, even in preconception, says Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, CEG director and Jacob G. Schmidlapp professor and chair of the department.
"The CEG is known for the quality, quantity and uniqueness of exposure datanot only regionally, but nationally and internationally, says Ho. The CEGs core facilities, technologies and rich datasets help facilitate innovative research, focused on how environmental agents interact with genetic and epigenetic factors to influence disease risk and outcomes.
"We have 11 human cohort studies, all with substantial exposure data, which makes the CEG unique, and sharing these resources is important to the NIEHS, says Susan Pinney, PhD, professor and deputy director of the CEG. "In addition to the rich biorepository, we also have a resource library where we can share best practices like questionnaires, methods and protocols to provide quality assurance in research.
The CEG is composed of four primary core areas:
"The big data capabilities we have, with the bioinformatics core lead by Mario Medvedovic and Jarek Meller, are a key strength of the CEG; they are developing new ways to analyze the data, overlay it and process genomic and genetic data, says Ho.
Ho adds that the CEG can provide subsidies for investigators to use the core facilities, as long as the research includes an environmental health sciences component.
"It attracts people by reputation of the core, and it ends up nurturing new studies in the environmental health sciences, because theyve become drawn to the environmental interactions in their work, says Leung.
In the past five years, the CEG has provided over $1 million in pilot grants and career development awards and has helped directly generate nearly $14 million in additional funding support.
In addition to supporting shared research services, the CEG has a Pilot Project Program, led by Jagjit Yadav, PhD, professor, and Chen, with annual pilot project funds of $170,000. These funds support affinity groups, innovative research, new-to-environmental health sciences proposals, new investigators, the translation and community engagement award and time-sensitive response awards. The goal is to provide seed funding for new and established investigators within and outside the center to launch high risk-high reward projects. The success of the program is reflected in its ratio of $14-to-$1 funding return on investment and recruitment of a number of star faculty into the field.
The CEG also incorporates a environmental health sciences career development initiative, directed by Daniel Woo, MD, a professor in UCs Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, and Chen. The effort focuses on developing the next generation of environmental health science researchers to conduct transdisciplinary research and encourage use of modern technologies in environmental health sciences.
Founded in 1992 by Daniel Nebert, MD, now a UC professor emeritus of environmental health, the center is one of 20 Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Core Centers funded by the NIEHS (P30 ES006096.) The new award will be disbursed in annual increments of about $1.6 million through March 31, 2022.
There are more than 90 members of the CEG, made up of faculty members and clinicians who are investigators and/or affiliated with research in the area of environmental genetics.
Collectively, CEG members hold $350 million in funding for UC and Cincinnati Childrens during the last funding period. Ho says their close partnerships with Cincinnati Childrens, the Environmental Protection Agency, the UC water cluster, the UC College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Centers for Disease ControlNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are also a key strength of the CEG.
Additional missions of the center are to attract new talents to EHS research and empower communities to impact public health policies.
"We will continue to look into these windows of disease origin and susceptibility: in gestation, puberty, and now moving all the way back to preconception. Were also learning so much more about the microbiome, and so on one end, we are looking at smaller and smaller models, and then on the other end, we have the larger population sets of exposure dataall with the goal to figure out who is most at risk, says Ho.
"We can classify a population as high-risk and then devise interventions and prevention measures for those highly vulnerable groups.
For more information, visit www.eh.uc.edu/ceg.
January 23, 2020
January 23, 2020
A new UC study in the journal Neurology reports that young black or Latino people recovering from bleeding strokes may be less likely than young white people to experience disabilities or death within three months of the incident.
January 23, 2020