On October 21, 2019, Shawna Swan, PhD, and Avi Reichenberg, PhD, organized and moderated a workshop on Sex Differences in the Developing Brain: The Role of Environmental Exposures. The workshop explored the biological variants in sex and how they are influenced by the interplay of developmental, genetic, and environmental factors.
Drs Robert Wright (P30 Director) and Douglas Walker (P30 Center Scientist) participated in the 2nd International ExposomeSymposium and Retreat of the Gunma University Initiative for Advanced Research in Japan on November 13, 2019. Dr Wright spoke on integrating exposomics into precision medicine initiatives and differences between these types of research questions and epidemiologic approaches. Dr Walker spoke on High Resolution metabolomics: Advanced blood chemistry for measuring the human exposome and recent advances his lab has made in measuring exogenous chemicals with gas chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry. Other speakers form Stockholm University, the Karolinska Institute, University of Eastern Finland, University of British Columbia, Harvard and UCSF among other participated as well. A wide range of topics ranging from methodological approaches to chemical analysis and identification to clinical applications of exposomics were covered. The symposium was followed by a day long retreat in the mountains of central Japan with discussion on the future of exposomics including how (or if) to incorporate and integrate measures of the external exposome with untargeted chemical assays. A white paper of these discussions is now planned.
The Mount Sinai TCEEE Community Engagement Core and NYCDOHMH have been leading community science trainings that provide our community members with the training tools to increase community participation in acquiring, interpreting, and communicating air quality data. Using a free online crowd-source survey tool, we are partnering with groups to create a “My NYC Air” survey tailored to the needs of the community to collect environmental data on neighborhood air quality-related health concerns and sources of air pollution. Over the course of the pilot program, participants are trained in environmental health and justice, community science data collection, and research to action! Over 80 students and community members have been trained in community science research.
On Thursday, October 10th, The Mount Sinai TCEEE and the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers hosted a wonderful event in honor of the 2nd Annual Children’s Environmental Health Day! During the CEH Day ceremony, Clean and Healthy NY presented on the newly passed Child Safe Products Act. We also honored student intern, Subhana Zafar, who participated in the Children’s Environmental Health Summer Intern Program and developed environmental health educational materials for youth. Mount Sinai participated in activities led by Children’s Environmental Health Network to celebrate CEH Day.
The Mount Sinai P30, CTSA and Exposomics Institute and Brown University partnered in sponsoring the 16th Academic Pediatric Association Environmental Scholars Retreat November 1-3 in Providence Rhode Island. Trainees from 12 different universities across the country participated. The annual Environmental Health Scholars Retreat, supported by Mount Sinai since its inception gives trainees an opportunity to present research in progress in an informal setting with faculty input on the project and presentation. Drs Allan Just, Joseph Braun, Heather Burris and Robert Wright lead the planning committee each year. Many past attendees have gone on to successful research careers. Every year, national and international leaders in environmental health give talks and keynote symposium; past speakers have included the Director of NIEHS and Administrator of the EPA. Our Theme this year was Gender Issues in Academics. Each year we hold a pre-meeting workshop on Friday afternoon designed to build academic and research skills. This meeting the workshop was themed on Grant Writing: “From Specific Aims to Understanding Reviewers” led by Dr. Robert Wright of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It was followed by small group sessions led by faculty participants. Keynote speakers this year included Dr Carol Shreffler, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who spoke on obtaining K awards, Dr Rosalind Wright, Mount Sinai, who spoke on Disentangling Impact of Chemical and Non-Chemical Stressors on Child Health Outcomes, and Dr Tamara James-Todd, Harvard University, spoke on her research in environmental chemical exposures and racial ethnic disparities in children. Dr Heather Burris, Penn University, led a panel discussion Navigating and Supporting Gender Equity in Academics, a Focus on the Career Development of Women. and Dr Joseph Braun, Brown University, spoke on using Directed Acyclic Graphs in Epidemiologic Research. Invited participants from Columbia University (Andrea Baccarelli), Tufts (Abby Fleisch),and Mount Sinai (Chris Gennings, Douglas Walker, Elena Colicino, Corina Lesseur, and Allan Just) led the small group sessions of the workshop and provided in depth feedback to trainees on their works in progress.
The Mount Sinai NIEHS Core Center has announced the awardees for its seventh 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.
One $70,000 grant, one $69,608, two $50,000 grants, three $25,000 grants, and one $20,000 grant were awarded. To learn more about the funded the research projects for this year, visit our Funded Pilot Projects page.
A theory that proposes the existence of a dynamic interface between the environment and human physiology over someone’s lifetime has earned a leading Mount Sinai researcher the prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Manish Arora, PhD, MPH, BDS, FICD, vice chair of the department of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will receive a total of eight million dollars over eight years to complete research into his theory, known as the Biodynamic Interface. Dr. Arora said, “I am grateful to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for this award that will help unlock the environmental underpinnings to diseases with causes and therapies that remain largely unknown.”
To read more click here.
On Saturday, June 7th students from schools across New York City gathered at CUNY Law School in Long Island City to present their findings regarding air pollution at the 2019 CELF Student Symposium, hosted by the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation together with partners. The CELF Citizen Science: Connecting Classroom to Community is a semester-long program that engages educators and students in project-based STEM learning outside of the classroom. The project was funded for Year 2 through the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYS P2I) Community Grant Award which allowed for CELF, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform, NYC Department of Education, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NY Hall of Science, and the Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures to engage NYC public school students as environmental health researchers to collect and analyze air pollution data from their neighborhoods. Using this data, students identified sources of air pollution, recognized connections to human behaviors, developed prevention and remediation plans for their communities, and shared their findings with peers and policymakers.
When Dr. Luz Claudio directed a student-prompted research study on the prevalence of asthma in New York City, the results shocked everyone — her research showed the extent of health disparities between zip codes. In this thought-provoking and humorous Ted Talk, Dr. Claudio illustrates a collaborative approach to science called Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR), a scientific method that engages community members, interns, and health professionals to achieve common goals. To see the TedTalk click here.
We would like to congratulate Corina Lesseur, MD, PhD on being awarded a K99 award! Dr. Lesseur’s research study “Integrative Analysis of Human Placental Epi/Genome Relation to Fetal Growth” will develop an integrative placental tissue and cell sub-populations epi/genomic catalogue. This research has the potential to advance our understanding of the placental contribution to fetal growth and lay the groundwork to develop placental biomarkers to inform individual disease risk. This proposed research and training will address the following knowledge gaps: 1) the proposal represents the first comprehensive and integrated genome-wide study of placental DNA methylation, transcriptome and their interplay with fetal genotypes and 2) plan to construct a placental cell-subpopulation epi/genomic reference that can be leveraged in future studies. The knowledge gained through this research study has the potential to inform more broadly on the influence of the intrauterine environment on health throughout the lifespan. To read more click here.