September 2021 Notes from the Director

September 30, 2021

CIEHS is well into its second year and our efforts promoting environmental health research are bearing fruit. Our members are succeeding in earning new grants from NIEHS and other agencies and the grant portfolio is growing. Collaborations, often supported by research vouchers or pilot project funds, are forming resulting in high quality publications. These accomplishments are recognized in the newsletters, on social media and on the CIEHS website. Speaking of the website, Sarah Jump is doing a spectacular job updating and expanding the website. It is now a great resource for information on CIEHS activities and research interests of its members. The website will continue to be improved with your help in providing information to Sarah. We encourage you to visit and poke around!

Applications for the next round of research vouchers will be due soon. The vouchers provide funds to gather needed data to respond to reviews of manuscripts and grants, or to subsidize ‘omics experiments in the cores. Examples of recent awards are in this newsletter and all awards are posted on the CIEHS website.

The RFA for new pilot project grants will be issued soon. There will be some modifications to the program that will be discussed at the CIEHS annual retreat on Nov 10. We think you will appreciate the changes. We are videotaping interviews with pilot awardees and posting these short videos on the website and social media. Links to two pilot project videos are above in this newsletter. The videos provide a quick way to learn about innovative research being conducted by CIEHS members.

The NIH and in particular, the NIEHS is emphasizing diversification in research and anti-racism. CIEHS fully supports these efforts and, as mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter, held a workshop recently that was attended by about half the CIEHS membership. We learned important things to be developed in order to be of greater assistance to all our members. Dr. Antle will be presenting another anti-racism session at the retreat. This session will be a prelude to a three-part workshop series CIEHS is offering in subsequent months.

We strongly encourage all members to participate in the retreat. In addition to the anti-racism session and discussions of changes in the pilot project program, we will have discussion of opportunities presented by new industrial operations in the region. We also will be seeking member input regarding what we are doing well and new ways that CIEHS might support member research.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still with us and the delta variant is fueling a high infection rate. We will continue to offer hybrid seminars and encourage those who are comfortable to attend in person. Masks are required! The Co-Immunity project led by Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar is generating data on the spread and the infection rate. They found that an incidence in their sample of 3,000 people that is twice as high as official reported. Additionally, the >7-fold difference in infection rate between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals demonstrates that vaccines are working. See the article on for details.

A final note on upcoming NIH requirements for data sharing and data management plans. UofL assembled a task force to develop data management policy for UofL researchers. The task force made a presentation on the new requirements and the work being done toward developing the UofL policy at the September 30 UofL Research Forum. (Contact Will Metcalf to get link to the meeting recording.) An appropriate data management and sharing plan will be required in all federal grant applications. The NIH published the Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (NOT-OD-21-013). We encourage everyone to take note of these new requirements.