Using evidence found in baby teeth, researchers from the Institute for Exposomic Research and the Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures at the Icahn School of Medicine found that Zinc and copper metabolic cycles in baby teeth are linked to autism. The researchers used the teeth to reconstruct prenatal and early-life exposures to nutrient and toxic elements in healthy and autistic children. Results of the study were published online in Science Advances, a journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This is the first study in the world to generate a 90 percent accurate fetal and early childhood biomarker of ASD using a longitudinal analysis of distinct metabolic pathways, and to replicate it in 4 independent study populations. The results of this research could produce a new diagnostic approach for ASD early in life before the disorder presents and catalyze new treatments and prevention strategies.
To read more about this study, read our Department of Environmental Medicine blog.
For the past year, NYC middle school teachers and their students have been collecting and analyzing air quality data from their neighborhoods using Air Beams as part of the “Citizen Science in NYC School Communities” project funded by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute. On April 28th, the Mount Sinai CEC staff, the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform, and NYCDOHMH, led a one-day symposium where the students and teachers presented their pollution prevention plans. The students presented and proposed innovative solutions to air pollution to community leaders, city agencies, and parents in hope of informing public health interventions that promote healthy communities.
From Left to Right: Dr. Robert Wright, Erik de Water, and Jeanette Stingone
The Honest Company has awarded The Institute for Exposomics Research at Mount Sinai $100,000 to fund two postdoctoral fellows conducting research in children’s environmental health. Click here to watch a video about the grant.
The grant recipients are Erik de Water, PhD, and Jeanette Stingone, PhD. Each fellow will receive $50,000 to fund their research programs. Dr. de Water will study the effects of maternal metal exposure on their children’s developing brains. Dr. Stingone will study the correlation between prenatal and early life exposures to environmental chemicals and early puberty, a risk factor for adult adverse health outcomes including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. To learn more click here.
The Pilot Projects Program is the engine that drives research that is relevant to our Center’s theme—Transdisciplinary Research in Early Environmental Exposures. This program has enabled Center Members to turn interesting new research ideas, perhaps sparked at a Research Group seminar, into fully developed research proposals with the goal of generating preliminary data for larger R01 applications (or K awards). Pilot grants enable junior faculty to access the Center’s cutting-edge core facilities and attract faculty from different departments into the Center to add environmental health to their research programs. To read more about our pilot program please see below:
Pilot Project Program Application click here
Previously Funded Pilot Projects click here
Dr. Rosa (Left) and Dr. Sanders (Right)
Congratulations to Dr. Allie Sanders and Dr. Maria Rosa on receiving K99/R00 Awards! Dr. Sanders research study “Children’s Exposure to Metals, MicroRNAs and Biomarkers of Renal Health” aims to determine whether exposure to heavy metals early in life contributes to renal toxicity in children and whether miRNAs mediate metal nephrotoxicity. Continue reading
Dr. Allan Just
Congratulations to Dr. Allan Just who received an NIEHS Supplement for his study “Hourly Temperature Dynamics from Satellites and Risk of Cardiovascular Events.” This supplement proposes a new collaboration between the NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. This collaborative project will extend methods for estimating daily temperature at high resolution across large regions by utilizing additional NASA satellite measurements to generate hourly estimates of temperature. This more detailed temperature record can be used in health studies to further consider temperature dynamics (including rapid changes in temperature) as a stressor in both chronic and acute health outcomes.
P30 Center Member, Homero Harari, was an NIH Research Project Grant Program (R01) awardee for his study “Safe and Just Cleaners: Reducing exposure to toxic cleaning chemical products among low wage immigrant Latino community members.” Recent research has documented the health impacts of common cleaning chemicals, including skin and respiratory irritation and asthma, as well as potential reproductive effects and cancer. Nonetheless, the production and distribution of these products continues to expand. In response public health actions have aimed to reduce exposures through substituting use of environmentally safer products in public buildings and schools and encouraging development of certified environmentally safer product labels. While these initiatives have been successful at reaching certain groups of workers and consumers, low wage domestic and other cleaning workers have been largely left out due to factors including knowledge, awareness, cost and accessibility. The Safe and Just Cleaners/Limpieza Sana y Justa Project aims to reduce this environmental health disparity by documenting exposures to cleaning agents among cleaning workers in the Latino immigrant worker community in NYC, as part of a collaborative University-Community partnership. The project will collect survey data to document exposures, values, knowledge and attitudes about potential hazards and self-reported health problems associated with the use of chemicals in consumer cleaning products among immigrant Latino workers. The project will then identify and evaluate, qualitatively and quantitatively, the conditions that can result in inhalation and dermal exposures to these products among immigrant Latino domestic cleaning workers. These findings will be used to develop and implement a multilevel strategic campaign to reduce exposures among low-wage Latino immigrant communities through local and national partnerships. Embedding this campaign within a workers’ rights and social justice perspective provides an approach that educates people about safer alternatives while simultaneously pursuing broader programmatic and policy initiatives to directly address the multi-layered influences of cleaners’ and the general public’s actions towards cleaning chemicals.
The Mount Sinai P30 Community Engagement Core (CEC) along with the Region 2 PEHSU has partnered with the University of Cincinnati P30 CEC and Region 5 PEHSU at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on a recently funded NIEHS P30 Supplement to more effectively integrate environmental health (EH) into clinical practice. We propose to incorporate EH education into electronic health records and web platforms which will allow clinicians to: (1) educate, counsel and refer families using evidence-based outreach and education from local, state and federal agencies including NIEHS CECs as well as the PEHSU national network, and (2) connect families to needed environmental health services to prevent and reduce common environmental exposures in the home. With input and meaningful involvement of our diverse expert panel spanning 4 CECs and 4 PEHSUs across federal Regions 1,2,3 and 5 (Harvard/Boston Children’s, University of Rochester, WEACT, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown School of Nursing), a major aim of this proposal is to bring CEC and PEHSU together to work collaboratively on communication tools that connect CEC resources to health care professionals.
On Oct. 14th, Mount Sinai CEC staff, Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, and Anthony Negron from the NY Hall of Science, led a one-day course titled “Citizen Science and Environmental Health in your Community ” a professional development session for NYC middle school teachers. The project was funded through the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYS P2I) Community Grant Award which will allow for CELF, CUNY, NYC DOE, and the Mount Sinai CEC to engage NYC public school students as environmental health researchers to collect and analyze air pollution data from their neighborhoods. During the workshop, the middle school teachers were introduced to the principles of Education for Sustainability and pedagogy of Citizen Science. Anthony Negron from the NY Hall of Science presented on the protocol for the AirBeam monitor and AirCasting app—teachers will then train their students to measure air quality in their school communities at different times of the day and different times of the year. The Mount Sinai Community Engagement Core led the Environmental Health and Civic Engagement portion of the workshop. Maida Galvez presented on the impact of pollution in relation to human and environmental health and Luz Guel presented on the role of research in environmental justice communities. Through this training, teachers will begin to work with their students to create pollution prevention plans that can inform public health interventions that promote healthy communities.
The Mount Sinai NIEHS Core Center has announced the awardees for its fourth call for Pilot Grant proposals. The Center’s mission is to increase the Environmental Health (EH) research portfolio at Mount Sinai and to bring non-EH researchers into the field through new transdisciplinary collaborations.
Two $50,000 grants, five $20,000 grants, and one $18,000 grant was awarded. To learn more about the funded the research projects for this year, visit our Funded Pilot Projects page.