February 2021 Notes from the Director

Notes from the Director

February, 2021

We are about to enter the last month of the first fiscal year of funding - a short year that started in July. In spite of the short time and the challenges of working remotely due to the pandemic imposed restrictions, we accomplished much. Most importantly, CIEHS is now established and our cores are all functioning. We owe a debt of gratitude to Colleen Quinter who came on board in July and has coordinated all CIEHS activities. She also oversaw the remodeling of the A1319 office space and the hiring of Arial Young as administrative assistant and Sarah Jump as communications assistant. Sarah updates the CIEHS website regularly, produces the newsletter, and established social media accounts to spread the word about CIEHS members’ accomplishments. Dr. Becky Antle and her assistants are tracking everything we do!

The Career Development Program launched with the recruitment of Dr. Mayukh Banerjee as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. A peer mentoring group of junior faculty meets monthly with Dr. Arunia Bhatnagar and me to discuss any issues of concern and to learn about and provide feedback on the research of two participating faculty. Individual semi-annual meetings with the leadership also have been initiated and provide the opportunity for in-depth discussion of career development concerns of the mentored faculty.

Our seminar series, launched in August, provides members the opportunity to learn about the wide range of research performed by our membership. The Research Interest Groups rotate for presentation of seminar and hold meetings afterward for further discussion. Our first external speaker will be Dr. Aaron Barchowsky (University of Pittsburgh) who will present seminar March 4. Dr. Deborah Cory-Slechta was invited by the Neurodevelopmental Toxicology Research Interest Group and will present June 3. Seminars are recorded for viewing asynchronously for those who are unable to join us live. See the website for links to recorded seminars. We are looking forward to a year of exciting research presentations and development of new collaborations.

The pilot project program was launched and we made five awards. The applications were reviewed by members of other NIEHS P30 Core Centers using NIH review criteria. In turn, CIEHS members provided reviews of pilot project applications from these other Centers. The Integrated Toxicomics and Environmental Measurement Facility Core and Integrated Health Science Facility Core have established their research voucher programs and made awards. These small awards subsidize usage of the UofL research facility cores and stimulate translational research, respectively. Details of all CIEHS awards are available on the website.

The CIEHS External Advisory Committee met virtually with us and provided feedback on our progress and made some suggestions for us to consider moving forward. Overall, the feedback was very positive. CIEHS Community Engagement Director Dr. Luz Huntington-Moskos attended NIEHS Community Engagement Core meetings with NIEHS Director Dr. Rick Woychik, and I attended the NIEHS Core Center Directors meetings with Dr. Woychik. These meetings provide insight into NIEHS program directions and offer the opportunity to highlight activities of our Centers. Dr. Huntington-Moskos will be highlighted by NIEHS as a new grantee in the coming months. The NIEHS will feature her efforts at environmental health education with adolescents and healthcare providers. We look forward to reading about her work on the NIEHS website soon. Kudos to Dr. Huntington-Moskos!

As a reminder, you can keep up with CIEHS events and accomplishments of our members by checking in on our website, or following us in your favorite social media app. We proudly announce new publications by, and grants awarded to, our members. Links are provided on the CIEHS website: https://Louisville.edu/ciehs.

Vaccines are becoming widely available. Get yours when turn comes up. Stay healthy!