July 2021 Notes from the Director

Notes from the Director

July, 2021

The CIEHS continues to grow and mature. We welcome two new people to the leadership team. Dr. Amanda LebBlanc now leads the Pilot Project Program, and Dr. Carolyn Klinge now leads the Cancer Research Interest Group. Dr. LeBlanc also will serve on the Executive Committee and both Drs. LeBlanc and Klinge will serve on the Internal Advisory Committee. The membership also has grown as noted in this newsletter. We look forward to everyone’s contributions to the Center research programs.

The situation with COVID appears to be backsliding. The delta variant is highly contagious and infected individuals shed approximately 1,000 times more virus. The impacts of this characteristic are that disease progresses more rapidly, and even vaccinated people can transmit the virus if they are infected. We are seeing a rise in ‘breakthrough’ infections in vaccinated people. Note that this does not mean that the vaccines are ineffective. Effectiveness is judged by the reduction in disease, especially severe disease. Thus far, the vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease. As of the time of this writing, UofL has not yet changed its official COIVD policy. However, the new CDC guidelines recommend that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in regions with high transmission. Jefferson county has a transmission rate that makes it a region of high transmission, it is likely we will see a return to wearing masks. Those who are not already vaccinated are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Those who are vaccinated are advised to exercise caution, especially if they or those who live with them are at high risk due to age or medical condition.

The Pilot Project Program continues with 5 new awards this year. You can see the descriptions of these projects on the CIEHS website (https://louisville.edu/ciehs/cores/pilot/pilot-project-awards-2021). Both the IHSFC and ITEMFC make awards for research vouchers. The IHSFC made two awards thus far this year (https://louisville.edu/ciehs/cores/ihsfc/cycle-2-may-2021-ihsfc-research-voucher-awards). The next competition for IHSFC and ITEMFC research vouchers will accept applications in September.

Our next external speaker, Dr. Miroslav Styblo, will visit UofL to present a seminar on September 2 as the guest of the Multi-Organ Toxicology Research Group. Dr. Styblo is a long established investigator in arsenic toxicology. He will present on the new mouse model humanized for AS3MT developed by his group at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. The MOTRIG members will meet with Dr. Styblo over lunch after the seminar. There are a few time slots for small group meetings in the morning before the seminar.

The CIEHS reception last month was well attended. It was great to see everyone in person! We are having a Center-wide meeting August 12 to discuss anti-racism efforts that CIEHS can initiate as part of NIH-wide initiative. We hope you will be able to participate. The meeting will be at 2:00pm in CTRB124. It will be hybrid, but we hope most will be present in person for better discussion.

Summer is passing quickly and the students will be back full time very soon. We hope your summer has been pleasant and that you can get some time for a break before the fall semester gets into full gear.

Lastly, please remember to cite the P30 grant in your publications and presentations. Thank you.