Academics & Research

UH helps create hub for environmental experts

Three Texas universities are joining together to create a home for environmental investigators, funding infrastructure needs with a $4.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, funding the first-ever hub for researchers looking for connections between genetic traits and environmental health factors.

UH, Texas A&M University and Baylor College of Medicine are teaming up to create the center, named by the National Institutes of Health as the newest national Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Science. It will be led by research team leader Cheryl Lyn Walker, director of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

“In addition to the $4.4 million NIH grant, researchers will be using their own existing grants and seeking additional grants to do their work,” said Jeannie Kever, senior media relations specialist at UH.

As reported by the Eagle, this center is a cross-institutional initiative to promote integrated environmental health research and translate research advances into practices that can improve human health.

The grant will pay for the center’s infrastructure needs and provide $250,000 in seed grants through a pilot program, officials said in a press release.

“This is a game-changer,” Walker said in a press release. “We knew it needed to be an intercollegiate effort.”

The Texas A&M Health Science Center is leading the center’s development with collaboration from AgriLife Research, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Medicine, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and the Dwight Look College of Engineering. That network is expanded with help from the Baylor College of Medicine and University of Houston researchers in the Texas Medical Center.

“This is a great opportunity for major Texas institutions to address the environmental health issues of Texas,” said Melissa Bondy, professor in the National Cancer Institute-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at the Baylor College of Medicine and associate director of the new center, in a UH press release.

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