Researchers from the Children’s Environmental Health Center in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai were recently invited to lead a workshop at a teaching institute conducted by The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF). CELF is a Stakeholder Advisory Board member of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) at the Transdisciplinary Center for Early Environmental Exposures at Sinai. The Institute, held from July 20-23 at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, consisted of a series of full-day professional development sessions and drew teachers from across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The workshop featured an all-star line-up of expert speakers promoting methods that enable teachers to integrate concepts of environmental sustainability into lesson plans for a wide range of academic topics and student ages.
At the workshop, Dr. Sarah Evans and Dr. Alison Sanders, both postdoctoral fellows, discussed how pediatric environmental health topics can be incorporated into the K-12 curriculum. Dr. Evans introduced key concepts such as the unique vulnerability of children to environmental health risks and transgenerational effects of chemical exposures, and proposed ways in which they can be integrated into both STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and non-STEM classrooms. Dr. Sanders, who also directs an afterschool science program for East Harlem fifth graders, presented her research on toxic metal exposures and epigenetics along with hands-on examples of how to translate her and others’ cutting-edge research into classroom lessons and activities. The invitation to participate in this event was an excellent opportunity to share current research being conducted at Mount Sinai with classroom teachers as part of our mission to promote environmental health education and engagement.
The Mount Sinai NIEHS Core Center announces its second 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 and five $25,000 grants will be disbursed to Mount Sinai researchers who are Core Center Members. Applications can be made to either grant program. The budget will determine which program is applicable. Research projects should deal with an issue relevant to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (e.g. metals, industrial solvents, endocrine disrupting chemicals, air pollution, pesticides etc.) See http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/strategicplan/strategicplan2012_508.pdf for a description of NIEHS research priorities. Both basic research and population science applications are encouraged. Grantees will be expected to briefly report on research progress annually including subsequent extramural funding.
We are very excited about the new Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Health Effects of Early Environmental Exposures funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Transdisciplinary research goes beyond the multidisciplinary approach to develop a new science. Our emphasis on transdisciplinary research and training means we are integrating methods in molecular biology, chemistry, biostatistics, bioinformatics and phenotyping to develop new methods to address how environment shapes health and disease. Our team is conducting groundbreaking research in exposure assessment in which we objectively reconstruct past environmental exposure and employ novel statistical approaches designed to address both mixed chemical exposure and to uncover the susceptibility windows that underlie toxicity.
The Mount Sinai Center will give investigators access to the remarkable resources not only in the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory, but also to expertise in clinical phenotyping, social environmental, biostatistics, bioinformatics, assessment and molecular biomarkers. Core Center Members are encouraged to join from disciplines outside Environmental Health in order to build new approaches to common illnesses. Within our Center, we have three research groups: 1) Endocrine and Metabolic Disruption (EMD); 2) Oxidant-Antioxidant Imbalance (OAI); and 3) Neuro-Immunomodulation (NI), as well as five Facility Cores: 1) Integrated Health Sciences; 2) Environmental Epidemiology, Statistics, and Informatics; 3) Phenotyping and Stress Assessment; 4) Career Development; and, 5) Community Outreach. This research infrastructure is new to Mount Sinai and designed to integrate across departments and scientific disciplines. Our goal is to discover the environmental causes of disease and disability and develop new methods to prevent and treat these disorders.
The Center will build on Mount Sinai’s remarkable recent growth and on our nationally and internationally recognized programs in children’s environmental health. We are interested in building the careers of young physicians and scientists who will be our nation’s future public health leaders as they translate scientific discoveries into new, evidence-based strategies for disease prevention and treatment.
Mount Sinai has a long tradition as a highly collaborative, hospital-based, urban school of medicine that serves some of New York City’s and the country’s most economically and socially disadvantaged communities. Our Center’s Theme focuses on the root cause of chronic illnesses such as asthma, neurodevelopmental disorders, obesity, and diabetes, which are the principal causes of social disparities and disability among infants, children and adolescents in our local communities. Together with our Community partners we will translate our research into new interventions and prevention programs that will reduce disparities and improve health broadly. We believe that our transdisciplinary emphasis is the distinguishing feature of our Center. Please come back to our site often to see what is new and exciting in the world of environmental health. We will be adding new pages and new pilot projects every year.