ARTICLE

UI center awarded $7.9 million grant for investigating environmental heath effects

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has awarded the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) a five-year, $7.9 million grant to continue investigating environmental health effects arising from rural and agricultural exposures and serving as a primary environmental health resource.

The center, based in the College of Public Health, includes 65 faculty researchers from across five UI colleges: Public Health, Medicine, Pharmacy, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. It has been continuously funded since 1990.

“The strength of the center comes from our multidisciplinary approach: bringing scientists together from many different disciplines to tackle the most challenging environmental health issues of our day with highly innovative research,” says Peter Thorne, professor and head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health and director of the EHSRC. “This renewed funding will allow investigators to take their earlier research to the next level in critical areas, such as nanomaterials and antibiotic resistant organisms, to determine the risks they pose to human health.”

The center’s research focuses on rural populations that face significant, unaddressed environmental health concerns such as asthma, cancer, and neurodegenerative or inflammatory diseases, according to Thorne. In addition, its team has conducted innovative research on the human health effects of industrialized livestock production, radon, and natural disasters, such as the Iowa flood of 2008.

“For more than 20 years, the EHSRC has been conducting groundbreaking research that reaches across disciplines such as public health, medicine, engineering, and pharmacy,” says Jordan Cohen, UI vice president for research and economic development. “The research, interdisciplinary collaborations, and innovative partnerships of the EHSRC are exemplary of the impact of many of our nationally regarded centers, and reflect not only scientific respect, but also UI’s commitment to translating our research for the benefit of Iowa and the nation.”

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