January 2024 Notes from the Director

J. Christopher States, Ph.D.

The new year is off to a busy start. The CIEHS leadership is deep into writing the renewal application for the P30 grant supporting the Center. Our External Advisory Committee kindly agreed to critique drafts of the sections. That critique is in progress. We are grateful to them for their very helpful comments we have so far received.

The symposium/retreat/EAC review held at the end of October was quite successful. There was substantial participation in the symposium and most CIEHS labs had representation in either an oral or poster presentation. The EAC provided helpful feedback, especially in relation to the renewal application. Clearly, the Center has made great progress in a bit less than four years. We look forward to this coming year and further progress in expanding environmental health research at UofL.

There have been some changes in CIEHS leadership. We say farewell to Dr. Vicki Hines-Martin who retired at the end of December. We wish her well in her retirement. Dr. Ted Smith was appointed Community Engagement Core Associate Director to replace Dr. Hines-Martin. Dr. Smith is Director of the Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil. Dr. Smith’s appointment creates a tie between CIEHS and this Center and strengthens ties between CIEHS and the Superfund Research Program. As you already know, Dr. Matt Cave assumed the role of Deputy Director. To assist him in leading the Translational Research Service Core, Dr. Jiapeng Huang was appointed Associate Director and assumed the clinical trials advisory role. Dr. Huang holds a leadership position in UofL’s Clinical Trials Unity (CTU), and he is experienced in all facets of clinical trial management. Also, he is Vice President and President-elect of the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA). His appointment helps strengthen these connections with CIEHS. The Career Development Program members requested that a female advisor be added. Dr. Carolyn Klinge agreed to be co-leader of the CDP. Dr. Klinge brings a wealth of experience to the program from mentoring a wide range of scientists at all career stages. Join me in welcoming all the new leaders.

The Midwest DNA Repair Symposium is returning to the University of Louisville for the third time. We will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of this meeting. The meeting is held in the Midwest and features junior investigators and trainees. Three leaders in the field are invited as keynote speakers and the informal venue provides opportunity for interaction. CIEHS is sponsoring the meeting this year. We hope that any of you with any interest in DNA damage and repair will attend. The 
meeting information is on the CIEHS website. Registration information will be posted soon.

Our next external speaker for the Environmental Health Science seminar will be Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, PhD. Dr. Fondufe-Mittendorf left the Bluegrass state and moved to the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids Michigan a few years ago. She will be discussing her research on epigenetic dysregulation and its impact on chromatin structure. She will be hosted by the Precision Environmental Health and Exposome RIG and will be available to meet with CIEHS members.

The annual Society of Toxicology meeting is coming up soon. CIEHS has provided travel awards to five trainees thus far and has received several other applications. Please help support our trainees by contributing to the travel fund via the 
link on the CIEHS website. CIEHS matches all contributions one for one. Also, please inform Sarah Jump of any presentations at SOT or organizing roles you may have so that we can publicize your accomplishments.