Center Director J. Christopher States, Ph.D.
Center Director J. Christopher States, Ph.D. is Professor, Distinguished University Scholar and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Medicine. Dr. States is an established investigator with a long-standing commitment to environmental health research. Dr. States is recognized nationally and internationally for his research on the adverse health effects of chronic arsenic exposure. He is the editor of a recently published book on arsenic toxicology, Arsenic: Exposure Sources, Health Risks, and Mechanisms of Toxicity. His education and training in biochemistry, pathology, molecular biology and human genetics provide the requisite expertise and broad perspective essential for integrating multiple disciplinary approaches to environmental health science. His research career has encompassed gene structure and function, molecular basis of human genetic disease, toxicogenomics, molecular genetics of human DNA repair, genetic toxicology (chromosomal instability, and DNA damage and mutagenesis by bioactivated chemical carcinogens), cardiovascular disease, and carcinogenesis. His current research focuses on the role in skin carcinogenesis of disturbance of regulatory RNAs and RNA maturation by chronic arsenic exposure.
Dr. States has a long track record of independent NIH funding supporting his research (mostly from NIEHS). His NIH funded track record extends to training programs as well. He led a research training program for minority high school students and teachers when he was in Detroit. He now directs the NIEHS T35 medical student research training program and participates in the T32 graduate student and post-doctoral training program at UofL.
Dr. States has a long history of stimulating collaborative research. He was recruited to UofL in 1999 from Wayne State University where he was serving as a Research Core Leader in the NIEHS P30 Core Center. His role as Research Core Leader was to stimulate collaborative research. Continuing the theme of stimulating collaborative research, in his role as Chair of the School of Medicine Research Committee, Dr. States initiated a pilot grants program specifically for collaborative research. This program was designed to stimulate research combining expertise of established investigators to pursue research avenues new for each investigator. This program is now emulated by the Interdisciplinary Pilot Awards of the Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences (CIEHS) Pilot Project Program.
Dr. States’ saw an opportunity to establish a mouse model of arsenic-induced cardiovascular disease, and enlisted collaboration of Dr. Sanjay Srivastava to achieve this goal. This model was adopted by other investigators to make important discoveries in understanding mechanisms. Furthermore, enlistment of collaboration with Dr. Gavin Arteel resulted in the demonstration of the exacerbation by chronic arsenic exposure of high fat diet-induced liver inflammation. These studies were early examples of the interaction of pollutants with life style factors in causing chronic disease. Dr. States has not only recruited UofL investigators to examine how chronic arsenic exposure might interact with life style factors they were studying, but also was instrumental in recruiting other metals toxicologists, e.g. Dr. John P. Wise, Sr. to the department of pharmacology and toxicology in his role as Vice Chair. Thus, Dr. States is a leading force in developing environmental health research at UofL. Establishment of the CIEHS is the manifestation of his efforts directed toward stimulating collaborative environmental health research at the University of Louisville.
Dr. States was invited recently to join an international group, Toxic Free Future for Our Children, that is working toward developing policies and programs to reduce industrial pollution worldwide. This group includes current and former NIEHS Core Center directors, as well as Dr. Linda Birnbaum, the former NIEHS Director. This group works towards identifying incentives for industry to eliminate toxic waste.