New Frontiers in Environmental Sciences and Human Health

Document Sample
New Frontiers in Environmental Sciences and Human Health Powered By Docstoc
 2006–2011 Strategic Plan

          New Frontiers in
          Environmental Sciences
          and Human Health
          2006–2011 Strategic Plan

          New Frontiers in
          Environmental Sciences
          and Human Health

       2 A New Vision

       4 New Frontiers

       6 Critical Challenges

       8 NIEHS Goals: Today and Beyond

      22 Appendix: Participants at the
         NIEHS Strategic Planning Meeting

      24 Notes

          Published by Environmental Health Perspectives (ISSN 0091-6765),
          a publication of the Public Health Service, U.S. Department of     Printed on 30% post-consumer
                                                                             waste recycled paper.
          Health and Human Services. [NIH Publication 2006-218]
             A New Vision

                                                                          T     he environment represents a key contributor
                                                                            to human health and disease. Exposures to many
                                                                            substances, such as pollutants, chemicals, allergens,
                                                                            and natural toxins, all originate from the environ­
                                                                            ment and can have a detrimental effect on health.
                                                                            Diet and lifestyle can interact with these environ­
                                                                            mental factors and increase or decrease their effects
                                                                            on health. Some of these environmental factors are
                                                                            under our own individual control, while others
                                                                            need to be controlled at the source through formal
                                                                            public health decisions.
                                                                               At the National Institute of Environmental
                                                                            Health Sciences (NIEHS), our work is driven by a
                                                                            desire to understand how the environment influ­
                                                                            ences the development and progression of disease.
                                                                            As we move forward, we will focus our research on
                                                                            scientific questions that form the basis for identifi­
                                                                            cation and prevention of hazardous exposures and
                                                                            that lead to improvements in health.
                                                                               The NIEHS vision is to prevent disease and
                                                                            improve human health by using environmental sci­
                                                                            ences to understand human biology and human
                                                                            disease. This new vision will require a change in
                                                                            the way we conduct basic science. Traditionally,
                                                                            this research was carried out by single investigators
                                                                            working on narrowly defined hypotheses. Our new
                                                                            strategy adds integrated science teams conducting
                                                                            disease-focused research on complex hypotheses

2   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
The NIEHS vision is to prevent disease and improve human health by using
environmental sciences to understand human biology and human disease.

regarding the interplay of environmental agents          achieve, and I am excited about the opportunities
and other risk factors, such as genetics, age, diet,     before us. However, this plan is only our starting
and activity levels. Recent advances in technology       point. If we are to succeed, we’ll need to be persis­
make this multifaceted research possible.                tent, but also remain nimble and responsive to
    The scientists and staff of the NIEHS are com­       opportunities and challenges that are currently
mitted to identifying and pursuing new frontiers in      unforeseen. This is part of the excitement of begin­
biomedical research that are likely to have the great­   ning this endeavor, because encountering these
est impact on human health. Through a compre­            unknowns will help us tweak the path for achieving
hensive strategic planning process, the NIEHS has        our vision.
developed a new set of goals for 2006–2011, which           We find ourselves at an exciting time when new
we believe will allow us to fulfill this vision.          technology and testing methods are creating
    I was personally involved in the strategic plan­     unique opportunities for scientific discovery. The
ning process and am fully committed to the goals         time is right for increasing our knowledge of the
outlined in this document. I want to personally rec­     cellular and molecular effects of environmental
ognize and thank the dedicated individuals, both         exposures. When we succeed, you will be able to
within the NIEHS and in our extended community           better understand the health risks associated with
of investigators, clinicians, and interested public,     environmental factors in order to protect your own
who participated in this planning process. Without       health. And, state and federal authorities will pos­
their dedicated efforts on our behalf, the develop­      sess the scientific knowledge needed to make the
ment and refinement of these strategic initiatives for    most appropriate public health decisions.
the NIEHS would not have been possible. Among
many, the members of the National Advisory                   Sincerely,
Environmental Health Sciences Council deserve
special recognition for their continued leadership
and critical and objective guidance to our institute.
    These strategic initiatives form a blueprint from        David A. Schwartz, MD
which we will move forward to apply environmental            Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
sciences to human health. There is much we plan to           and National Toxicology Program

                                                          New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health    3
             New Frontiers

             W      e have mounting evidence that environ­
             mental factors contribute substantially to most
                                                                           What do we mean by “environment”? In the
                                                                           broadest sense, the environment is what is all
             diseases of major public health significance. Most            around you; it consists of the chemicals, foods,
             of the principal causes of death in the United                drugs, and natural products that you touch, eat,
             States (cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes,               and breathe in everyday life. In practice, the
             metabolic disorders, and neurodegenerative condi­             NIEHS focuses its resources on studies of the
             tions) are known to have significant environmen­              effects of environmental agents that fall into three
             tal causes. In addition, environmental effects on             main categories: pollutants and chemicals such as
             chronic, nonfatal conditions (birth defects,                  lead, mercury, and ozone; useful commercial prod­
             asthma, neurodevelopmental dysfunctions, and                  ucts that enter our environment and may have
             reproductive problems) are also well-documented.              health implications, such as pesticides and herbi­
             Results from studies of twins reveal that develop­            cides; and natural toxins that are part of our every­
             ment of chronic human disease owes as much,                   day life, such as toxins produced by molds and
             or more, to environmental components as it does               dust mites. However, many other factors known to
             to genes.                                                     be important for health status, such as diet and
                The ways in which our environment affects                  exercise, can work separately or in combination
             diseases and health conditions can differ from                with environmental agents (and with host factors
             individual to individual depending on temporal                such as genetic makeup) to influence human
             factors (age and developmental stage), spatial                health and disease. The “environment” studies
             factors (geographic location), and unique circum­             conducted by the NIEHS will continue to focus
             stances (comorbid disease, nutritional status,                on understanding the fundamental changes in
             socioeconomic status, and genetics).                          basic biology caused by exposure to environmental
                                                                           agents. However, this work will not be in isola­
                This strategic plan describes the three critical           tion, and the integration of our environmental
             challenges facing environmental health sciences               health science mission with understanding the
             and goes on to set major goals for the NIEHS to               health implications of these other health-deter­
             achieve.                                                      mining factors is one key to improving our health
                                                                           by improving our environment.

4   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
And what do we mean by “environmental disease”?
All diseases generally have complex etiologies that
allow for multiple causal and pathogenic factors
including exposure to environmental agents.
Experience tells us that virtually all human
diseases can be caused, modified, or altered by
environmental agents. Hence, it is not possible
to develop a definitive list identifying the diseases
that are clearly caused by environmental factors.
Instead, as is the case for environmental agents, one
key to improving human health is identifying and
understanding the basic biological processes that are
altered by environmental factors, and that stimulate
disease processes to begin or the course of the disease
to be substantially altered.
    The NIEHS vision is to prevent disease and
  improve human health by using environmental
    sciences to understand human biology and
                  human disease.
    The fundamental mission for achieving the NIEHS
vision lies in understanding the complex relationship
between environmental risk factors and human biology
within affected individuals and populations, and in
using this knowledge to prevent illness, reduce disease,
and promote health. To accomplish this, the NIEHS
will support research and professional development in
the environmental health sciences, environmental
clinical research, and environmental public health.

                                                           New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health   5
             Critical Challenges
             To succeed, NIEHS must address three
             To succeed, thethe NIEHS must address                        three critical challenges:

             critical challenges:
             The First Challenge—Programmatic Scope:                       The Second Challenge—Integrative Science:
             What diseases and what exposures will be the focus of         Given the explosion in new science that has occurred in
             the NIEHS research portfolio?                                 the last decade, how will we focus our research efforts
             In general, the NIEHS will set research priorities            on the most appropriate science for a given disease and
                                                                           the related environmental exposures?
             to focus on diseases for which there is a strong
                                                                           The NIEHS will take a leadership role in improving
             indication of an environmental component and for
                                                                           human health by using environmental exposures to
             which there is high or increasing prevalence in the
                                                                           understand human biology and human disease.
             U.S. population. In addition, the NIEHS will
                                                                           This vision is a complex one, requiring a change
             focus on exposures that carry the highest risk to the
                                                                           in approach to basic research, moving from our
             largest population or hold the most promising
                                                                           traditional science base of single investigators with a
             hope of clarifying an important disease process. In
                                                                           clear hypothesis to integrated research teams
             this way, the NIEHS can optimize the future util­
                                                                           addressing the complex hypotheses associated with
             ity of the scientific research we support today and
                                                                           the interplay of environmental factors with many
             have the largest impact on human health in the
                                                                           other factors (e.g., genetics, lifestyle, age, sex) on
             near future. However, the NIEHS will continue to
                                                                           disease incidence and prognosis. The NIEHS is in a
             fund higher-risk research efforts aimed at identify­
                                                                           unique position to focus on the interplay between
             ing more diseases that are impacted by environ­
                                                                           environmental exposures, vulnerable populations,
             mental exposures as well as classical research aimed
                                                                           human biology, genetics, and the common diseases
             at evaluating the potential for health implications
                                                                           that limit our longevity and quality of life. As we
             of emerging environmental exposures.
                                                                           increase our understanding of how the human
                                                                           genome functions, the classical approach to envi­
                                                                           ronmental health research that focuses on identify­
                                                                           ing health hazards will be expanded to develop and
                                                                           use better tools, both to understand disease etiology
                                                                           as well as to fill data gaps regarding environmental
                                                                           health hazards. This knowledge, in turn, will
                                                                           improve our ability to identify important environ­
                                                                           mental toxicants, determine how past and present
                                                                           exposures contribute to an individual’s disease
                                                                           status, and improve the clinical outcome of
                                                                           environmentally caused and mediated disease.

6   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
The Third Challenge—Public Health Impact:
How will we develop the scientific knowledge that
                                                                Our Commitment : To move our vision
empowers people to improve their environmental
choices, allows society to make appropriate public
                                                                forward, the NIEHS will identify and fund the best science
health decisions, and results in our living healthier lives?
 The NIEHS will develop initiatives aimed at iden­
tifying the complex factors in our environment                  possible to address the diseases and exposures that are likely
than can increase one’s risk of disease. The research
supported and conducted by the NIEHS already
forms the basis through which most public health                to have the greatest impact on human health.
agencies identify and manage harmful environ­
mental exposures. We know that with the right
information, it is possible to improve our lives by
taking steps to avoid harmful environmental expo­
sures and lifestyles. Having that knowledge avail­
able, either directly or through our medical
providers or community organizations, is key to
making this happen. Everyone’s environment is
important to his or her health, but different groups
of people are exposed to different agents by virtue
of where they live, work, and play. And two people
exposed to the same environmental agent could
respond differently due to other factors such as
genetics and age. The ways in which environmen­
tal agents increase disease risks for an individual are
still poorly understood. As the NIEHS moves for­
ward, we are committed to supporting the basic
research that drives the scientific basis for health
decisions, as well as the applied research that fills
gaps in our understanding of environmental health

                                                               New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health   7
              NIEHS Goals:
              Today and Beyond

              T    he following seven goals represent strategic
              investments that ensure all three major research
                                                                            GOAL I:
                                                                            Expand the role of clinical research in
              components of the NIEHS (intramural, extramural,              environmental health sciences.
                                                                            The NIEHS will encourage research that empha­
              and the National Toxicology Program[NTP])                     sizes the study of environmental exposures to
              continue to have the greatest impact on                       inform clinical research. Traditionally, environ­
              preventing disease and improving human health.                mental impacts on disease have been studied from
              These seven goals form the core of the NIEHS                  either the perspective of the exposure or the per­
                                                                            spective of the disease. Advances in biology over
              Strategic Plan and outline enhancements to the                the last few years have been remarkable in creating
              current NIEHS research portfolio that will                    the opportunity to address environmental disease
              expand our basic and applied science efforts in               from a more integrated perspective. One important
                                                                            area where this integration could take place is
              both exposure-oriented and disease-oriented                   within an expanded clinical research program. This
              research, improve the scientific utility of                   approach will use environmental exposures to pro­
              community-based research by embracing a wider                 vide a greater understanding of human disease by
                                                                            strengthening the evidence that a given exposure is
              geographic approach to identify more diverse                  toxic, determining how specific environmental
              environmental and genetic factors, and provide                exposures affect disease etiology and progression,
              needed support for recruiting and training                    and using environmental exposures to identify
                                                                            molecular targets to determine susceptibility and
              tomorrow’s scientists. These seven goals span all             intervention. Diseases for which environmental
              three critical challenges. Our commitment to                  health sciences can provide important clinical
              these goals through existing programs and new                 insight include (but are not limited to) such com­
                                                                            mon disorders as immune-mediated diseases, neu­
              initiatives will allow the NIEHS to maximize the
                                                                            rodevelopmental disorders, neurodegenerative
              benefits of our research investments for the                  diseases such as late-onset Parkinson’s disease, car­
              nation’s health.                                              diovascular diseases, reproductive disorders, and
                                                                            lung diseases, especially asthma. There are three
                                                                            major steps that must be accomplished for this
                                                                            effort to be successful.
                                                                            Encourage clinical research that emphasizes the use of
                                                                            environmental exposures to understand and better char­
                                                                            acterize common, complex diseases. This approach
                                                                            assumes that common, complex diseases are syn­
                                                                            dromes that represent many pathological entities,

8   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
and that environmental agents can be used to nar­       array of genetically modified animals can provide
row the pathophysiological phenotype so that an         researchers new resources for conducting experi­
exposure–response relationship can be investigated.     ments in comparative biology, identifying con­
For example, in complex diseases such as asthma,        served biological responses that uncover new
individual responses to different environmental         biological mechanisms, and testing the importance
agents can help aggregate patients into discrete sub­   of genes in exposure–response relationships.
types that can more effectively be evaluated for the
                                                        Enhance the role of the clinical investigator in environ­
specific pathogenic mechanisms that are causing
                                                        mental health sciences. A clinical research program
symptoms. In this way, environmental agents can
                                                        requires physicians and Ph.D.s who are trained to
provide the key to differentiating among the
                                                        conduct and/or support clinical research in envi­
numerous phenotypes for such complex diseases.
                                                        ronmental health sciences. Medically trained scien­
Assuming the different phenotypes are linked to
                                                        tists are familiar with the varied manifestations of
different mechanisms, this will generate the follow­
                                                        human disease and can focus their own research on
ing immediate public health benefits: improved
                                                        scientific questions that are clinically relevant. In
understanding of host susceptibility, stronger link­
                                                        addition, the integrative possibilities for using
ages between exposure and disease, improved dis­
                                                        clinical research to address exposure-specific or
ease prevention, and the development of clinically
                                                        disease-specific environmental questions necessitate
relevant biomarkers that can be used to identify
                                                        physician-scientists providing support to basic or
additional environmental agents of concern.
                                                        public health investigators who wish to focus their
Develop improved research models for human disease      interests on clinically relevant areas of human dis­
using our knowledge of environmental sciences and       ease. Another possibility for strengthening the
human biology. Knowledge of comparative genomics        focus on clinical research includes enhancing the
linked with an added emphasis on research findings       biomedically related dimensions of doctoral
from humans now offers new opportunities for            training programs.
developing models of human disease and disease
pathogenesis that enhance understanding of the
linkage between genes, exposures, biology, and dis­
ease. With more creative application and develop­
ment of these models, the NIEHS hopes to identify
critical pathways that improve our ability to extrap­
olate and translate laboratory findings to humans.
In addition, improved in vivo models could be used
to uncover new mechanisms associated with dis­
ease. One important area with high priority will be
epigenetics, where environmental influences might
have a particularly strong impact. Finally, a wide

                                                        New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health   9
                                                                             Support research that improves our understanding
               GOAL II:                                                      of signal transduction pathways and their influence on
               Use environmental toxicants to understand                     disease. Cells respond to environmental signals,
               basic mechanisms in human biology.                            toxicants, and stressors through multiple mecha­
               Studying environmental exposures can provide a
                                                                             nisms, many involving communication pathways
               controlled method for targeting and manipulating
                                                                             such as signal transduction. The identification,
               cellular machinery in ways that provide insight
                                                                             quantification, and interpretation of the signal
               into both basic biology and the mechanistic events
                                                                             transduction pathways affected by the environment
               leading to clinical disease. Because environmental
                                                                             that play critical roles in human diseases are likely
               agents can operate early in the disease process, they
                                                                             to present new avenues for therapeutic intervention
               indicate useful techniques for uncovering very early
                                                                             and prevention of environmental disease. Of imme­
               events in disease pathogenesis. These techniques
                                                                             diate importance is increasing our knowledge of the
               can be used to identify methods to diagnose dis­
                                                                             pathways involved in oxidative stress, inflamma­
               eases before they are clinically evident, to develop
                                                                             tion, and apoptosis, as well as the impact of these
               early interventions that prevent progression to end-
                                                                             processes on common diseases. These processes are
               stage disease, and to identify targets for screening
                                                                             increasingly recognized as important pathways that
               additional environmental agents. In this way, envi­
                                                                             underlie many environmentally induced diseases.
               ronmental agents have tremendous potential for
                                                                             These pathways and their responses to environmen­
               use as probes in understanding the processes of
                                                                             tal insults will help to uncover causes and treatments
               common chronic diseases, as well as identifying
                                                                             for a variety of human diseases.
               possible routes for intervention. Through this goal,
               the NIEHS will expand the “toolbox” developed                 Expand our understanding of environmental influences
               under the National Institutes of Health (NIH)                 on genome maintenance/stability and its impact on
               Roadmap initiative titled “New Pathways to                    human health. Human cells are astonishingly good
               Discovery.” This expanded “toolbox” will enhance              at defending the integrity of their genome using
               technologies for environmental research over the              DNA repair and other damage-tolerance systems
               next decade. The initial efforts under this initiative        to limit the impact of assaults on their integrity.
               will concentrate on three fundamental biological              Environmental exposures have been shown to cre­
               processes, elucidated below, having immediate                 ate DNA damage, but can also affect the ability of
               implications for environmental health sciences.               a cell to repair DNA once damage has occurred.
                                                                             The failure to repair DNA damage can initiate a
                                                                             large number of human diseases, and more effort is
                                                                             needed to evaluate the role of the environment in
                                                                             altering genome maintenance and stability. Thus,
                                                                             the study of environmental factors that modify
                                                                             DNA damage, repair, and maintenance is an
                                                                             important area of investigation, particularly with
                                                                             regard to aging, cancer, and cell death.

10   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
Lead a concerted effort to improve our understanding of
epigenetic influences on health. A dynamic interplay        NIH Roadmap: The NIEHS participates in, and
exists between the input received from the extra­
cellular environment and the expression of genes           benefits from, a number of Roadmap initiatives. For example, since
within a cell. Integration of the key cellular signals
to produce very specific genomic responses is              August 2005, the NIEHS, through the NTP, has formally partici­
essential to proper cellular function and disease
avoidance. Environmental signals can alter the
                                                           pated in the NIH Roadmap Molecular Libraries Initiative (MLI). This
functioning of genes in many ways, both directly
and indirectly. Epigenetics refers to a group of
mechanisms that regulate patterns of inheritance           collaborative effort is aimed at assisting the MLI project leaders
and gene expression without changing DNA
sequences and that are potentially crucial in the          with development of their screening program by adding a toxicity
interface between genes, environment, and disease.
These mechanisms include, but are not limited to,
                                                           testing capability to the MLI effort. In addition, this collaboration is
DNA methylation, imprinting, and histone ace­
tylation and post-translational modifications. The
overall impact of environmental changes on these           allowing rapid implementation of the NTP’s High Throughput
mechanisms remains poorly understood, yet the
consequences of modifying them can result in an            Screening Assays program by providing the NTP access to estab­
increased risk of developing cancer, immunologic
diseases, and other complex diseases.                      lished testing laboratories through interinstitute cooperation.

                                                           Specifically, the NTP, through its association with the MLI, has the

                                                           opportunity to generate information that links data on the biologi­

                                                           cal activity of environmental substances generated from high-

                                                           throughput screening assays with toxicity end points identified in

                                                           the NTP’s toxicology testing program.

                                                           The NIEHS is one of 27 research institutes and centers that comprise the
                                                           National Institutes of Health (NIH).

                                                          New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health             11
               GOAL III:                                                     programs will be reoriented to foster collaborations
                                                                             across teams of scientists with complementary skills
               Build integrated environmental health
                                                                             and areas of expertise. These collaborations will
               research programs to address the cross­
                                                                             enable the NIEHS to better address important
               cutting problems in human biology and
                                                                             research needs and enable the institute to better align
               human disease.
                                                                             with cross-NIH efforts such as the NIH Roadmap
               Interactive, team-based scientific research will be
                                                                             for Medical Research (
               needed to optimize our ability to integrate research
               from all levels of investigation in order to con­             Identify and remove barriers to integrative research.
               tribute to overall health and reduce the burden of            Integrative research requires teams of investigators
               complex, multifaceted diseases. The study of how              who are willing to cross the boundaries of their
               an environmental agent affects molecular targets,             own disciplines to develop research that they sim­
               cellular function, tissue function and organism sur­          ply can’t do on their own. The NIEHS will exam­
               vival will need to be related up and down a contin­           ine how the current structure of incentives and
               uum of biological complexity that ultimately                  grants (e.g., peer review, training, and funding
               informs us about the etiology, pathogenesis, and              mechanisms) can be changed and use this informa­
               distribution of disease. Scientific contributions             tion to encourage the creation of the integrated
               from epidemiology, toxicology, molecular and cel­             research teams that will be needed to perform
               lular biology, bioinformatics, clinical medicine,             future environmental health research.
               and many other fields will need to be coordinated
                                                                             Improve and expand access of researchers to advanced
               and integrated. This collaborative approach will
                                                                             technology and scientific infrastructure. The face of
               enable us to fully understand complex diseases and
                                                                             modern environmental health research is con­
               identify the most likely environmental links, and
                                                                             stantly changing, and new technologies have
               more effectively reduce health risks and disease
                                                                             played an important role in driving these changes
               burdens in human populations.
                                                                             and leading to new discoveries. Cutting-edge envi­
               Promote interdisciplinary, integrative research               ronmental health research utilizes these newer,
               approaches. The NIEHS should design and imple­                resource-intensive technologies in many ways, such
               ment models for research that integrate clinical,             as the use of mass spectrometry and NMR in
               epidemiological, and toxicological research with              metabonomics and proteomics research. These
               basic mechanistic studies to address disease etiol­           technologies are expensive and require expertise
               ogy, pathogenesis, susceptibility, and progression.           that is not always available at every institution or in
               By fostering such broad-based, collaborative                  every research group. For this reason, the NIEHS
               research, the NIEHS will increase the relevance of            will foster efforts to coordinate and collaborate in
               basic scientific discoveries in environmental health           the use of technologically advanced instruments
               sciences to human disease and rapidly and more                and to provide access to conceptually demanding
               effectively move this knowledge into clinical and             scientific infrastructure, ultimately accelerating
               public health application, ultimately improving               discoveries in environmental health sciences.
               human health. As a first step, the NIEHS research

12   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
GOAL IV:                                                    DISCOVER : The NIEHS is developing a new
Improve and expand community-linked
The NIEHS has a noted tradition of supporting               research grant program called DISCOVER (Disease Investigation
research relevant to understanding health dispari­
ties and concerns of disadvantaged communities.
Different groups of people are exposed to poten­            for Specialized Clinically Oriented Ventures in Environmental
tially toxic agents depending on where they live,
work, and play. Differences in the environment are
thought to contribute substantially to the excess bur­      Research). DISCOVER will bring together basic, clinical, and pop-
den of disease found in minority populations or
impoverished communities. Examples of health indi­
cators for which these disparities exist include shorter    ulation-based scientists to conduct integrative research pro­
life expectancy, higher cancer rates, more birth
defects, greater infant mortality, and higher incidence
of asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.            grams on (1) understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of
    The ways in which poverty and other factors
create these health disparities are still poorly under­
stood. However, there is increasing evidence that           human diseases influenced by environmental factors, (2) using
poor and minority groups are burdened with a dis­
proportionate share of residential and occupational
                                                            exposure to understand the interplay between genetic and envi­
exposure to hazardous substances such as metals,
pesticides, wood dusts, and air pollutants. In addi­
tion, the increasing mobility of our population
                                                            ronmental factors, and (3) applying available state-of-the-art
raises the likelihood that exposures occurring
remotely must be accounted for in assessing envi­
ronmental exposure history as a contributor to dis­         technologies and methods to improve human health.
ease burden. Thus, environmental exposures
represent an important area of investigation for
understanding and ameliorating the health dispari­
ties suffered by the disadvantaged of this nation
and around the world.
    The NIEHS is the primary federal agency
responsible for supporting research, prevention,
and training efforts to reduce the adverse health
impact of environmentally related diseases.

                                                           New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health      13
               Therefore, the NIEHS has taken a lead role both               diseases. Targeting these diseases, which have
               in investigating the environmental influences on              great variation across communities, maximizes the
               these conditions in minority and socioeconomi­                probability that this research will have the greatest
               cally disadvantaged populations and in developing             possible impact on major problems in public health.
               tools and strategies that will prove effective for
                                                                             Develop a program in global environmental health. In
               reducing health disparities. We will continue to
                                                                             the modern global economy, very few environmen­
               support research, both domestically and globally,
                                                                             tal concerns can be truly described as affecting only
               that can offer important insights into how to
                                                                             a single country or geographic region. As the
               reduce exposures and disease incidence in these
                                                                             nation’s premier environmental health research
               community settings.
                                                                             institute, the NIEHS has an obligation to address
               Focus on populations that are exposed to high concen­         environmental health issues both nationally and
               trations of environmental agents that are thought to          globally. By expanding the definition of commu­
               cause human disease. NIEHS-supported scientists               nity to include a broader global perspective, the
               have long recognized that exposures to environ­               NIEHS is able to create the partnerships necessary
               mental pollutants vary by locality around the                 for an effective global research strategy. The
               world and can offer fruitful avenues for defining             NIEHS is in the process of cultivating partnerships
               the impact of the environment on human health.                to better leverage resources in pursuit of new and
               The likelihood of exposure to environmental toxi­             emerging opportunities in global environmental
               cants increases in most economically disadvantaged            research.
               communities and is associated with an excess dis­
                                                                             Build capacity to pursue research in global environmen­
               ease burden in these communities. Studies on the
                                                                             tal health. One of the major deterrents to bringing
               higher levels of environmental exposure in defined
                                                                             cutting-edge mechanism-driven environmental
               communities can lead to insight into potential
                                                                             health research to bear on global health problems is
               health effects and can also offer unique opportuni­
                                                                             a lack of proper research training and access to a
               ties for teasing apart different cellular pathways that
                                                                             research infrastructure in many countries. The
               contribute to the development of complex diseases.
                                                                             NIEHS will pursue three avenues for increasing the
               Use of newly developed technologies in exposure
                                                                             current capacity of trained personnel and research
               assessment and exposure biology will also facilitate
                                                                             infrastructure: (1) develop training opportunities for
               this research, leading to a greater understanding of
                                                                             young investigators from other countries; (2) work
               disease risk, pathogenesis, and prevention.
                                                                             with universities to develop regional environmental
               Focus on diseases that are unevenly distributed and           health centers designed to work in collaboration
               have a high impact on morbidity and mortality.                with U.S. agencies operating overseas, nongovern­
               Variations in the incidence of diseases offer clues           mental organizations, and host governments; and
               that may suggest where environmental agents are               (3) encourage all three major components of the
               contributing to disease pathogenesis. The NIEHS               NIEHS (intramural, extramural, and NTP) to
               will aggressively pursue research that follows up on          have international partners.
               these clues to target the most prevalent and severe

14   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
GOAL V:                                                  to exposures. Modern molecular biology has pro­
                                                         vided biomedical research with an array of tech­
Develop sensitive markers of environmental
                                                         nologies that allow us to look at large numbers of
exposure, early (preclinical) biological
                                                         genes, proteins, and other cellular components
response, and genetic susceptibility.
                                                         using small biological samples. It is possible that
Without accurate, personalized measures of expo­
                                                         these same technologies may hold some promise
sure, we simply will not be able to assess the
                                                         for registering changes in cellular components fol­
importance of the environment on human health.
                                                         lowing environmental exposures that remain in the
Thus, improvement in exposure assessment has to
                                                         body for a sufficiently long period of time to serve
be one of the top priorities for research in environ­
                                                         as biomarkers of past exposure. It would be partic­
mental health science. Identifying and characteriz­
                                                         ularly valuable to focus on a specific exposure–
ing past environmental exposures is currently very
                                                         disease relationship and address it using multiple
difficult, if not impossible, for many agents of con­
                                                         exposure assessment tools. Research areas with a
cern. The methodologies for detection and mea­
                                                         critical need for specific biomarkers include com­
surement of the actual exposure sustained by a
                                                         mon biological responses (inflammation, oxidative
human or other organism is most often weak and
                                                         stress, apoptosis, and DNA damage), markers of
imprecise. This is in striking contrast to the robust
                                                         gene and protein expression, and markers of organ
tools we employ in the fields of genetics and
genomics. In order to advance the field of environ­
mental health sciences, we need personalized mea­        Develop new exposure technologies. Measurement of
sures of environmental exposure that rival the           exposures in the general environment may also be
ability to measure genetic variability between indi­     improved through the use of newer technologies.
viduals. The increasing sophistication of our            These technologies need to be cheaper, faster, and
understanding of the biological pathways involved        better than those currently available. Practical
in host response to a given exposure points the way      needs, such as real-time measurement of exposures,
toward the use of that knowledge in the develop­         detection of low doses, quick turnaround, and high
ment of improved methods for detecting and mea­          throughput, are minimal requirements of this
suring environmental exposures.                          objective. The NIEHS will also capitalize on con­
                                                         tinued improvements in portability and sophistica­
Develop validated biomarkers of exposure, susceptibil­
                                                         tion of personal monitoring devices, field
ity, and effect. The NIEHS, through the Genes and
                                                         monitoring devices, and surveillance kits. Of par­
Environment Initiative, plans to support the devel­
                                                         ticular interest is the use of nanotechnology for
opment of biomarkers that would be accurate for
                                                         low-cost, micro-scale characterization of environ­
the relevant timeframes (such as previous or histor­
                                                         mental and biological samples and in imaging tech­
ical exposures), be mechanistically linked to dis­
                                                         nologies to evaluate environmental exposures.
eases of interest, and serve to link environmental
                                                         Imaging technologies are a potentially rich area for
exposures with biological effects. The ultimate
                                                         innovation in environmental health research and can
goal is integration across biomarkers, allowing
                                                         be used to identify functional changes in exposure
researchers to study disparate biological responses

                                                         New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health   15
               and effects (e.g., MRI to quantify manganese and
               iron in the brain). Accelerator mass spectrometry
                                                                             GOAL VI:
                                                                             Recruit and train the next generation of
               may be another ultrasensitive tool for detecting
                                                                             environmental health scientists.
               exposures, and molecular imaging may be useful for
                                                                             The NIEHS is committed to cross-disciplinary
               investigating protein–protein interactions.
                                                                             training to attract the next generation of environ­
               Address institutional barriers to effective exposure          mental health scientists and train them for the inter­
               assessment and toxicity assessment in humans.                 disciplinary research of the future. Environmental
               In many evaluations of health risks, among the                health scientists will need to be conversant in more
               biggest hurdles to overcome are the historical                than one discipline so that their research will have
               approaches and means by which previous evalua­                the greatest impact on understanding human
               tions were conducted. The changing face of bio­               health and disease. Along with developing interdis­
               medical research, however, requires a fresh                   ciplinary teams of scientists to work together on
               evaluation of how we evaluate exposures and risks.            important environmental health issues, the NIEHS
               Acceptance of new methods and techniques                      will extend its current commitment for training in
               requires a number of scientific tasks that the                the disciplines of epidemiology, exposure assess­
               NIEHS can lead. Examples include standardiza­                 ment, toxicology, cell and molecular biology,
               tion and validation in sampling methodologies,                genetics, and bioinformatics, and will add cross-
               development of exposure assessment strategies and             disciplinary training. In addition, the NIEHS must
               tools, and illustration of the use of novel biomark­          find a way to attract the brightest young students
               ers and predictive models. Improved bioinformat­              and scientists into our field in order to ensure that
               ics will also be needed to analyze and link the large         the full promise of environmental health research is
               data sets currently being generated. Additionally,            met. This is especially true for scientists in fields
               the NIEHS will work to develop protocols and                  that have not traditionally focused on environmen­
               controls that ensure appropriate use of biomonitor­           tal health, such as medicine, computer science,
               ing and biomarker data in human studies, includ­              bioengineering, and biophysics.
               ing attention to ethical concerns.
                                                                             Increase recruitment of talented students into environ­
                                                                             mental health sciences. A variety of strategies will be
                                                                             pursued to increase the visibility of the field of
                                                                             environmental health sciences and to create incen­
                                                                             tives for recruitment. Providing field experiences
                                                                             for interested students, increasing the likelihood of
                                                                             funding for future researchers, aggressively recruit­
                                                                             ing students at health fairs and scientific meetings,
                                                                             and creating customized approaches for attracting
                                                                             students at various points in the educational
                                                                             pipeline (high school, college, and graduate

16   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
school) will increase awareness and interest.
The NIEHS will enhance opportunities for young,          ONES: The Outstanding New Environmental Scientist
motivated high-school and undergraduate students
to participate actively in research.
                                                         (ONES) Award is a first independent research grant designed to
Engage the broader biomedical community in environ­
mental health research. Schools of medicine, schools
of public health, and traditional graduate science       attract the most talented younger researchers into the field of
programs have an important role to play in the
overall effort to provide a more robust focus in
environmental health sciences. The success of the        environmental health sciences. The NIEHS aims to identify a
clinical research program is linked to our ability to
integrate environmental health science more effec­
tively into medical school curricula and research so     cadre of outstanding scientists in the early, formative stages of
that future physicians are better equipped to con­
sider and understand the interaction of environ­
ment with human health. In addition, public              their careers who are interested in developing a career in
health scientists are traditionally trained in multi­
ple fields and are an excellent resource for helping
the NIEHS develop the research teams of the              environmental health sciences research, and to provide a strong
future. However, the underpinning of all of our
research efforts is based in fundamental research
and will require continued support of trainees in        start for these individuals. These grants will assist young
basic disciplines in the biomedical sciences.
                                                         scientists in launching innovative research programs focusing on

                                                         problems of environmental exposures and human biology, human

                                                         pathophysiology, and human disease.

                                                        New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health      17
               GOAL VII:                                                     using an existing study population. The NIEHS
                                                                             intends to provide leadership in developing means
               Foster the development of partnerships
                                                                             for scientists from multiple organizations and
               between the NIEHS and other NIH institutes,
                                                                             agencies to share access to study populations
               national and international research agencies,
                                                                             and/or their data. This leadership will include
               academia, industry, and community organi­
                                                                             enhancing the stability/accessibility of databases,
               zations to improve human health.
                                                                             repositories, and registries through partnerships
               The NIEHS depends on strong partnerships with a
                                                                             with other organizations. These types of partner­
               wide variety of organizations and agencies to
                                                                             ships will also be brokered to provide more oppor­
               achieve its mission. Community groups are key
                                                                             tunities to study unique populations through twin
               partners in identifying environmental issues and
                                                                             registries, occupational cohorts, and large cohorts
               diseases of concern, as are regulatory agencies,
                                                                             that cannot be assembled by a single agency.
               academia, and industry. Studies can be initiated
                                                                             Through these partnerships, the NIEHS will also
               more successfully and results will be more useful if
                                                                             investigate identification of high- and low-exposed
               the perspectives of all stakeholders are represented
                                                                             populations that could be used in comparative
               in the planning process.
                                                                             studies. Partnerships could also help develop tools
               Engage partners across disciplines in government,             to better assess social and economic inequities that
               academia, and industry to expand the reach and rele­          are becoming increasingly important in under­
               vance of environmental health sciences. Unlike many           standing relative disease risks within a population.
               other fields of research, environmental health sci­
                                                                             Work with agency, industry, and community partners to
               ence research is not limited by an organ system, a
                                                                             enhance communication and translation of research
               methodological approach, a single disease, or a
                                                                             results into effective means to protect public health.
               population. Its multidisciplinary nature offers great
                                                                             The NIEHS needs to reach out and engage its key
               promise, but also presents challenges. Since research
                                                                             partners, both to ensure we are funding the best
               activities are usually organized around disciplines
                                                                             and most relevant science and to ensure that we are
               and institutions, there are barriers to collaborations
                                                                             making the greatest possible impact on the nation’s
               across disciplines and missions. Public investments
                                                                             health. We will continue to improve our ties to our
               will be optimized by developing ways to integrate
                                                                             partners, to ensure that the best science is brought
               across multiple disciplines and research groups.
                                                                             to the processes of health care, community inter­
               Provide leadership in developing partnerships to facili­      vention, and regulatory decision-making.
               tate critical studies. Many organizations and agen­
               cies have access to long-standing study populations
               that are relevant to issues other than those they
               were originally assembled to address. In many
               cases, other organizations or agencies will have
               questions or concerns in environmental health
               sciences that might be answered most effectively by

18   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
SUMMARY                                                  Genes and Environment
The scientific challenge posed by environmental
health science research is to support the best sci­      Initiative: In an effort to accelerate our under­
ence possible to develop the tools and information
needed to improve the health of humans world­            standing of how genetic and environmental risk factors influence
wide. This challenge will require a very broad           health and disease, the NIH has launched the Genes and
scientific view with the ability to focus on the
questions that are relevant to the practical needs of    Environment Initiative (GEI).
the public while providing flexibility to address the
needs of the future. The researchers and staff sup­
ported by the NIEHS are dedicated to using what          The GEI has two main components: a system for analyzing genetic
we know regarding the interaction of humans and          variation in groups of patients with specific illnesses, and an envi­
other organisms with their environment to under­
stand human disease and improve human health.            ronmental technology development program to produce and vali­
The strategic goals outlined in this document focus
on the future and describe the directions for envi­      date new methods for monitoring environmental exposures that
ronmental health sciences to support the best sci­
ence possible into the 21st century. With the hard       interact with a genetic variation to result in human diseases. The
work and dedication of us all, the NIEHS can
                                                         NIEHS is taking a lead role in the environmental technology devel­
move into this new era of exciting challenges that
hold the promise of better environmental health.         opment program, and the GEI Working Group is co-chaired by

                                                         NIEHS director David Schwartz and Francis Collins, director of the

                                                         National Human Genome Research Institute.

                                                         This initiative is seen as so important to the advancement of bio­

                                                         medical research that companies including Pfizer, Inc., of New

                                                         York, NY, and Affymetrix, Inc., of Santa Clara, CA, announced they

                                                         will jump-start the GEI by contributing over $20 million dollars to

                                                         the project through a public–private partnership known as the

                                                         Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN).

                                                        New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health         19
              The Process

               T    he development of the NIEHS Strategic Plan
               followed a detailed and accelerated timetable
                                                                                NIEHS staff, with additional input from area
                                                                             investigators in Research Triangle Park, formed a
               beginning in the spring of 2005, and engaged a                strategic planning working group to develop the
                                                                             procedures, format, and timetable for the overall
               broad spectrum of individuals—investigators,                  strategic planning process and to define some of
               clinicians, other scientists, engineers, policy advo­         the key issues.
               cates, and interested citizens—in providing their                Following an announcement in the Federal
               perspectives and opinions to the institute. The               Register, a six-question web survey was posted on
                                                                             the NIEHS website between June 22 and August
               initial step in the process was an invitation to
                                                                             5, 2005. The questions posed were:
               NIEHS stakeholders to help identify promising
                                                                                   1.	 What are the disease processes and public
               areas of need and opportunity in the environ­                           health concerns that are relevant to environ­
               mental health sciences, as well as to suggest                           mental health sciences?
               new potential directions for the NIEHS and its                      2.	 How can environmental health sciences be
               research programs. Key milestones in the plan­                          used to understand how biological systems
                                                                                       work, why some individuals are more
               ning sequence included the following initiatives                        susceptible to disease, or why individuals
               and events:                                                             with the same disease may have very different
                                                                                       clinical outcomes?
                                                                                   3.	 What are the major opportunities and
                                                                                       challenges in global environmental health?
                                                                                   4.	 What are the environmental exposures that
                                                                                       need further consideration?
                                                                                   5.	 What are the critical needs for training
                                                                                       the next generation of scientists in environ­
                                                                                       mental health?
                                                                                   6.	 What technology and infrastructure are
                                                                                       needed to fundamentally advance
                                                                                       environmental health science?
                                                                                 Over 400 responses were received from scien­
                                                                             tists and clinicians in universities, other research
                                                                             institutions, and government, as well as from
                                                                             advocacy groups and individual citizens. NIEHS
                                                                             staff worked at length to distill all the input into a
                                                                             single summary document.

20   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
Over   400 responses were received from scientists and clinicians in universities, other
research institutions,and government, as well as from advocacy groups and individual citizens.

    Using the input from the web survey, six            presentations, all participants were asked to list the
broadly defined discussion topics were identified as      proposed priorities they felt were most important in
being central to strategic decision-making on the       each topic area. Questions were also posed at the
future direction, emphasis, and priorities of NIEHS     conclusion of the meeting for the attendees’ consid­
programs.                                               eration and response.
    In September, senior NIEHS staff made a                The substantial input from the Strategic
detailed presentation on the strategic planning         Planning Forum was gathered and analyzed by
process at the scheduled meeting of the NIEHS           NIEHS staff and advisors. Recommendations and
National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences         subject area priorities were weighed, as were the
Council. Questions and discussions at the meeting       detailed transcripts from every discussion group.
explored options for analysis and decision-making       Summaries from the discussion sessions were com­
in key areas.                                           bined into a formal “proceedings” of the forum.
    To continue the strategic dialogue, a “Strategic       Additional discussions were held in November
Planning Forum” was hosted by the NIEHS on              2005 with members of the NIEHS Public Interest
October 17 and 18, 2005, in Chapel Hill, North          Liaison Group, representing nongovernmental med­
Carolina. The forum was co-chaired by Dr.               ical, environmental, and policy organizations with
Frederica Perera, professor of environmental health     interests in the institute and the future direction of
sciences and director of the Columbia Center for        environmental health research, research applications,
Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia             and policy. Emerging NIEHS scientific priorities
University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and       were the central topic of the discussions.
Dr. Gerald Wogan, Underwood-Prescott Professor             The draft NIEHS Strategic Plan was posted on
of Toxicology Emeritus and professor of chemistry       the NIEHS website for public comment in
emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of              December 2005. Feedback from the website was
Technology. Over 90 invited scientists, clinicians,     gathered for consideration as the document contin­
and persons representing support and advocacy           ued to be revised.
organizations participated in a highly interactive         Key components of the NIEHS Strategic Plan
program involving intense, small-group discussion       were shared with staff at an all-hands meeting in
on six core topics related to future NIEHS priori­      January 2006 hosted by the institute director.
ties. Each discussion group was given specific issues       Following advanced distribution, the proposed
and questions to consider in their respective topic     NIEHS Strategic Plan was presented to and discussed
area; was asked to reach a general consensus on         at the NIEHS National Advisory Environmental
their conclusions; and reported their outcomes at a     Health Sciences Council meeting in February 2006.
plenary session that followed. The procedure was        In response to the council discussion, the plan was
followed through three successive cycles to cover all   further revised and finalized.
six topics. Additionally, following the plenary

                                                        New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health   21

               Participants at the NIEHS Strategic Planning Forum
               Vas Aposhian, PhD                                    Bill Farland, PhD                                   Michael Holsapple, PhD
               Professor                                            Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science   Executive Director
               University of Arizona                                Environmental Protection Agency                     International Life Sciences Institute
               Trevor Archer, PhD                                   Elaine Faustman, PhD, DABT                          Michelle Hooth, PhD
               Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis        Professor and Center Director                       Toxicologist
               National Institute of Environmental                  University of Washington                            National Institute of Environmental
                Health Sciences                                                                                          Health Sciences
                                                                    Robert Floyd, PhD
               Dan Baden, PhD                                       Member and Program Head                             Howard Hu, MD, ScD
               Professor and Center Director                        Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation                Professor
               University of North Carolina Wilmington                                                                  Harvard School of Public Health
                                                                    Ruth Frischer, PhD
               Marianne Berwick, PhD, MPH                           Frischer-Dambra Consulting Corporation              Barbara Hulka, MD
               Chief, Epidemiology                                                                                      Kenan Professor Emerita
                                                                    Mike Gallo, PhD
               University of New Mexico School of Medicine                                                              University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
               Christopher Bradfield, PhD                            University of Medicine and Dentistry                Phil Iannaccone, MD, DPhil
               Professor                                              of New Jersey—Robert Wood Johnson                 Professor
               University of Wisconsin—Madison                        Medical School                                    Northwestern University
               Deborah Brooks                                       Marilie Gammon                                      Randy Jirtle, PhD
               President and CEO                                    Professor                                           Professor
               The Michael J. Fox Foundation for                    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill         Duke University
                 Parkinson’s Research                               Joseph Graziano, PhD                                Jerry Keusch, MD
               Jim Bus, PhD, DABT                                   Professor and Associate Dean for Research           Associate Dean for Global Health
               Science Policy Leader                                Columbia University                                 Boston University School of Public Health
               Dow Chemical                                         Lisa Greenhill, MPA                                 Cathy Koshland, PhD
               Gwen Collman, PhD                                    Associate Executive Director                        Professor
               Chief, Susceptibility and Population Health Branch   Association of American Veterinary                  University of California, Berkeley
               National Institute of Environmental                   Medical Colleges                                   Jim Krieger, MD
                Health Sciences                                     John Groopman, PhD                                  Chief, Epidemiology, Planning & Evaluation
               Deborah Cory-Slechta, PhD                            Professor and Chair, Department of                  Public Health—Seattle & King County
               Director, EOHSI                                        Environmental Health Sciences                     Thomas Kunkel, PhD
               University of Medicine and Dentistry                 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
                                                                                                                        Chief, Laboratory of Structural Biology
                of New Jersey—Robert Wood Johnson
                                                                    Traci Hall, PhD                                     National Institute of Environmental
                Medical School
                                                                    Senior Investigator                                  Health Sciences
               George P. Daston, PhD                                National Institute of Environmental                 Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH
               Procter & Gamble                                       Health Sciences                                   Center Director
               Kathleen Dixon, PhD                                  Bruce Hammock, PhD                                  Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
               Department Head, Molecular and Cellular Biology      Professor                                           Paul Lioy, PhD
               University of Arizona                                University of California, Davis                     Professor
               David Eaton, PhD                                     Carol Henry, PhD DABT                               University of Medicine and Dentistry
               Center Director                                      DABT Vice President                                   of New Jersey—Robert Wood Johnson
               University of Washington                             American Chemistry Council                            Medical School
               Peyton Eggleston, MD                                 Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD, MPH                      Stephanie London, PhD
               Professor and Center Director                        Professor                                           Senior Investigator
               Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health      University of California, Davis                     National Institute of Environmental
               John Essigmann, PhD                                  John Hildebrandt, PhD                                 Health Sciences
               Professor                                            Professor                                           Fernando Martinez, MD
               Massachusetts Institute of Technology                Medical University of South Carolina                Professor and Center Director
                                                                                                                        University of Arizona

22   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
Cynthia McMurray, PhD                           Stephen Safe, DPhil                               Brenda Weis, MSPH, PhD
Professor                                       Professor                                         Special Assistant to the Director
Mayo Clinic                                     Texas A&M University                              National Institute of Environmental
                                                                                                    Health Sciences
Elise Miller, MEd                               Regina Santella, PhD
Executive Director                              Professor                                         David Wheeler, PhD
Institute for Children’s Environmental Health   Columbia University                               Associate Professor
                                                                                                  Baylor College of Medicine
Fred Miller, MD, PhD                            David Savitz, PhD
Director, Environmental Autoimmunity Group      Professor and Chairman, Department of             Allen Wilcox, MD, PhD
National Institute of Environmental               Epidemiology                                    Senior Investigator
 Health Sciences                                University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill       National Institute of Environmental
                                                                                                    Health Sciences
Lee Newman, MD                                  Ellen Silbergeld, PhD
Professor                                       Professor                                         Marsha Wills-Karp, PhD
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center   Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health   Professor
                                                                                                  Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
David Ozonoff, MD, MPH                          Martyn Smith, PhD
Professor                                       Professor                                         Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH
Johns Hopkins University/Boston University      University of California, Berkeley                Executive Director
  School of Public Health                                                                         Children’s Environmental Health Network
                                                Peter Spencer, PhD
Dhavalkumar Patel, MD, PhD                      Senior Scientist and Center Director              Jerry Wogan, PhD
Professor                                       Oregon Health Sciences University                 Professor Emeritus
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill                                                       Massachusetts Institute of Technology
                                                Bill Suk, PhD
David Peden, MD                                 Director, Center for Risk and                     Shelia Zahm, PhD, ScD
Professor                                        Integrated Sciences                              Deputy Director, Division of Cancer Epidemiology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill     National Institute of Environmental                and Genetics
                                                 Health Sciences                                  National Cancer Institute
Frederica Perera, DrPH
Professor and Center Director                   Jim Swenberg, DVM, PhD                            Darryl Zeldin, MD
Columbia University                             Professor                                         Senior Investigator
                                                University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill       National Institute of Environmental
John Peters, MD
                                                                                                    Health Sciences
Hastings Professor                              Jack Taylor, MD, PhD
University of Southern California               Senior Investigator                               Harold Zenick, PhD
                                                National Institute of Environmental               Acting Director, National Health and
Jim Popp, DVM, PhD
                                                  Health Sciences                                  Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
Vice President Elect, Society of Toxicology
                                                                                                  Environmental Protection Agency
Stratoxon, LLC                                  Palmer Taylor, PhD
                                                Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences
Ken Ramos, PhD
                                                University of California, San Diego
Professor and Chairman, Biochemistry and
  Molecular Biology                             Sholom Wacholder, PhD
University of Louisville                        Senior Investigator
                                                National Cancer Institute
Carrie Redlich, MD, MPH
Professor                                       Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD
Yale University                                 Professor
                                                University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Isabelle Romieu, MD, MPH, DSc
Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica             Clarice Weinberg, PhD
                                                Chief, Biostatistics Branch
Marschall Runge, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine     National Institute of Environmental
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill      Health Sciences

Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD                             Bruce Weir, PhD
                                                Director, Bioinformatics Research Center
Assistant Professor
                                                North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

                                                                         New Frontiers in Environmental Health Sciences and Human Health             23
       The NIEHS, located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is

       one of 27 research institutes and centers that comprise the

       National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and

       Human Services (DHHS). The mission of the NIEHS is to reduce the

       burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the

       environment influences the development and progression of

       human disease.

24   NIEHS 2006–2011 STRATEGIC PLAN |
P.O. Box 12233
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-2233

Published by Environmental Health Perspectives (ISSN 0091-6765),
a publication of the Public Health Service,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
[NIH Publication 2006-218]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Description: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is one of 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Unlike the other NIH institutes, the NIEHS is located in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina. RTP is a science and technology hub located between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. The NIEHS is home to the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the nation’s premier program for the testing and evaluation of agents in our environment. The mission of the NIEHS is to reduce the burden of human illness and disability, by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease. NIEHS’s broad focus on the environmental causes of disease makes the institute a unique part of the NIH.