May 2022 Notes from the Director

Unfortunately, COVID is still with us and the case loads, hospital admissions and transmission rate are all increasing both nationwide and in Kentucky. The community spread index in Jefferson County is currently ‘medium’. Of concern is that people testing positive with a home test are often not reporting the result. Thus, the positivity rates are artifactually low. Please help keep the data accurate by either reporting the result or following up with a PCR test that will be reported. Stay vigilant, exercise discretion and stay healthy!

We had good attendance at the recent Center-wide meeting. We discussed the current state of the Center which is good. Our members are publishing at a good rate, although citation of the P30 is not as frequent as it should be. We announced recent additions to the CIEHS website.Special thanks to Sarah Jump and Luis Salazar Guzman for their work implementing the expertise search and pilot project ordering functions. We also held a mini-workshop on using the NIEHS Translational Research Framework. Thank you to Drs. Cave and Antle for putting that together, and to Drs. Banerjee, Jala and Jophlin for presenting their translational research path. We also discussed the focus on obtaining new NIEHS grants. In one year, we will be writing the application for renewal of the P30 grant. To be eligible to apply, we must have a minimum of six separate NIEHS funded research project/program grants with a minimum of four separate principal investigators. The grants must have at least 12 calendar months of support beyond the P30 application deadline. We are emphasizing that people apply for R01 grants rather than R21 grants, not only because there is little difference in how much work and preliminary data are needed to be successful, but also because R21 grants applied for this year will expire too soon to count toward eligibility. Other criteria that the reviewers will be evaluating include how many publications cited the P30 and how successful we have been at fostering new NIEHS grants with the pilot projects and research vouchers. Reviewers also will evaluate the success of our early stage investigators at getting their research programs funded.

As recommended by our External Advisory Committee, we expanded the leadership. Dr. Petra Haberzettl as Associate Director, and Drs. Calvin Kouokam and Banrida Wahlang were elected by the Career Development Program mentees to serve one year terms on the Executive Committee and the Internal Advisory Committee respectively. Dr. Cynthia Corbitt will serve as member at large on the Internal Advisory Committee this year. We thank Dr. Timothy O’Toole for his service as member at large last year.

The NIEHS Center Directors Meeting is being hosted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai P30 in July. They also are hosting anExposome Symposium as a satellite meeting. Dr. Matt Cave will be one of the invited speakers at the Exposome Symposium. There is an option for virtual attendance at each of these meetings. See the website for further information.

Dr. Fei Chen will be visiting us June 1 -2 and will present a seminar on his research. We are looking forward to his seminar that will be presented in person. There is an option for virtual attendance if you cannot be present. Please see the notice elsewhere in this newsletter for the details.

There are lots of fun outdoor activities to enjoy this summer. I hope you get to partake of many of them.