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NIEHS allocates $74 million to study environmental causes of disease

As part of the new Exposure Biology Program, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health, today announced $74 million in grant opportunities for the development of new technologies that will improve the measurement of environmental exposures that contribute to human disease.

The three grant opportunities will support research to develop portable, easy-to-use sensing devices that will accurately measure personal exposure to a wide variety of chemical and biological agents. The grants will also support the development of sensitive biomarkers, based on subtle changes in DNA structure, proteins, metabolites and other molecules, that will enable scientists to study how the body responds to environmental stress.

The Exposure Biology Program is one of two complementary research programs outlined in the Genes and Environment Initiative, a five-year, NIH-wide effort to identify the genetic and environmental underpinnings of asthma, diabetes, cancer, and other common illnesses. The program will focus on the development of innovative technologies for assessing exposures to chemical and biological agents, dietary intake, physical activity, psychosocial stress, and addictive substances, as well as new methods for quantifying the biological responses to these environmental stressors.

"These new exposure technologies will enable researchers to accelerate their discovery of genetic and environmental risk factors for human disease," said NIEHS Director David A. Schwartz, M.D. "The discoveries made with these new tools will ultimately lead to new strategies for the prevention and treatment of many illnesses."

There is increasing evidence that common human diseases result from a complex interplay between genes and environmental exposures. Population studies designed to investigate the role of gene-environment interactions in human disease have often been hampered by the lack of precise measurement too
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Contact: John Peterson
peterso4@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-7860
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
18-Oct-2006


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