Author: 1333-healthvot

A National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative aims to improve COVID-19 outcomes among low-income and minority individuals by increasing the availability and uptake of testing. Socioeconomic issues and exposure to pollution can heighten their vulnerability to the disease. Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) — a $1.5 billion effort to spur mass production of low-cost, reliable COVID-19 testing tools — includes a component geared toward underserved populations, called RADx-UP. NIEHS and other NIH institutes and centers are encouraging researchers across the country to participate. Persistent social and health disparities among some people in minority groups increases their health risks related to…

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Abuawad studies how nutrition and arsenic exposure interact to affect diabetes and other metabolic outcomes, under the mentorship of Ana Navas-Acien, M.D., Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Ahlam Abuawad) Eleven outstanding trainees in the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) have won K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements. The annual awards allow trainees to work side-by-side with experts at an outside institution to learn new methods and techniques to enrich their research. The awards honor the memory of longtime environmental health researcher and SRP grantee Kirby (K.C.) Donnelly, Ph.D. (see sidebar). Ahlam Abuawad, a doctoral student at Columbia University, will travel to the…

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Williams’ lab continues to study APE2, working with other NIEHS researchers to further understand the role and regulation of APE2 in processing ribonucleotides embedded in DNA. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw) NIEHS structural biologist Scott Williams, Ph.D., and collaborators in Canada reported a key vulnerability of breast cancer cells that lack proteins coded for by the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The study, published June 18 in the journal Molecular Cell, holds promise for a precision medicine approach to treating breast cancers that arise from BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. The vulnerability arises when a protein called APE2 is also lost. In…

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Fessler also leads the NIEHS Clinical Investigation of Host Defense Group. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw) NIEHS scientist Michael Fessler, M.D., has been awarded a 2020 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Challenge Innovation Award for his proposal to advance and standardize metabolomics and lipidomics methods across the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP), or in-house researchers. Metabolomics allows scientists to identify and measure the small molecules that an organism produces during metabolism. Lipidomics focuses on fats and their derivatives. Researchers look for connections between disease and changes in these biological molecules. “The insights that metabolomics have begun to provide into…

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A new study by NIEHS-funded researchers found that pregnant women who lived near active oil and gas wells were at higher risk of having low birth weight babies. The birth cohort study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is one of the largest of its kind and the first in the state of California. Oil and gas extraction spans decades in many states. Public health researchers are beginning to explore a variety of health outcomes from resultant environmental exposures of active and inactive sites. Being small for gestational age or being born at low birth weight can affect development…

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A bold effort to improve human health by studying how genes and the environment interact to affect human health was a key topic in the director’s presentation at the June 2 meeting of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council. NIEHS Acting Director Rick Woychik, Ph.D., shared details on how the environmental health sciences community will contribute to a project called Maps to Mechanisms to Medicine (M2M2M). “By combining environmental exposures with genomics, the global public health community will likely benefit from a better understanding of how genes interact with the environment,” said Woychik. Where the rubber meets the road…

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“I’ve really loved being involved with the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention,” said Blake. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw) NIEHS scientific excellence across the career spectrum was recognized June 16 with the 2020 awards from the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (BDRP). The honors will be presented at the group’s annual meeting June 25–July 2. Early-career distinction Bevin Blake, Ph.D., who recently joined the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods(https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/whatwestudy/niceatm/index.html) (NICEATM), earned two prizes. Marie Taubeneck Award — Recognizes scholarship of a student or postdoctoral fellow working in the…

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Federal efforts during the past year to reduce animal use in chemical safety testing were celebrated at a May 21 public forum(https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/whatwestudy/niceatm/3rs-meetings/past-meetings/pubforum-2020/iccvamforum-2020.html) held by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods(https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/evalatm/iccvam/index.html) (ICCVAM). The committee is comprised of agencies such as NIEHS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Stakeholders include representatives from industry, academia, and animal welfare groups. More than 400 individuals attended the online meeting. Automated machines such as this support high-throughput chemical screening, which is a nonanimal approach to toxicity testing. Leadership key to new initiatives “Things aren’t going to change unless they change…

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A professor who uses supercomputers to study the effects of climate change says that without reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and extreme weather will intensify in the 21st century. Jason West, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, delivered the second NIEHS Global Environmental Health (GEH) seminar on climate, environment, and health on June 10. “Flattening the greenhouse gas curve is really important,” said West. “Like with COVID-19, early action is better than reaction.” “I appreciate how [the institute] is getting people engaged and thinking about how climate change interacts with air pollution and health,”…

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Thirty canine companions participated in the study, wearing silicone tags attached to their collars. This pooch belongs to first author Catherine Wise. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Wise) Pet dogs could shed light on how human exposure to chemicals can lead to disease. A first-of-its-kind study by NIEHS grant recipients from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University found similar levels of chemicals in dogs and their owners through the use of silicone monitoring devices. Scientists detected substances ranging from phthalates, which are used in plastic products, to pesticides such as chlorpyrifos. The fact that people and their canine companions share…

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