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Penn receives $4 million to establish a Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology

(Philadelphia, PA) Over the next four years, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will receive $4.1 million from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study the effects of environmental pollutants on human health. The new Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) represents a partnership between research scientists and communities in southeastern Pennsylvania. The CEET mission is to understand the mechanism by which environmental exposures lead to disease. Understanding these processes can lead to early diagnosis, intervention, and prevention strategies. The goal will be to improve environmental health and medicine in the region.

The Penn CEET is one of 22 designated Environmental Health Science Centers in the United States and the first in Pennsylvania.

"We have the opportunity with the center to improve the environmental health of all southeastern Pennsylvanians through research and outreach," said Trevor M. Penning, PhD, the Center's Director. Penning is also a Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and OB/GYN.

An area of interest will be to study the role of environmental exposure in lung disease, including cancer, mesothelioma, asthma, and emphysema. Researchers will also focus on how certain environmental triggers can disrupt the body's endocrine (hormonal) and reproductive systems, causing problems such as pre-term birth and birth defects. A number of researchers are focusing on how oxidants and oxidizing chemicals in our environment cause disease. Other investigators will examine the interplay between genes and environmental exposure. The CEET will use modern methods of genomics and proteomics to identify early fingerprints of disease onset, so that researchers can detect problems before they are too far advanced.

In addition to its research agenda, the center will have a major community outreach and e
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
16-May-2006


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