Jan 142016


In the fall of 2015, CEED issued a special call for proposals to link environmental research to communities affected by environmental problems. The RFP required that researchers work with CEED members affiliated with the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) and community organizations to prepare collaborative projects. Two projects were funded in December 2015.

Pilot Project Program


 January 14, 2016
Sep 232014

In the 2014-15 program year, CEED reviewed 13 pilot proposals and awarded funds to 5 projects at approximately $25,000 per project. Following are summaries of the newly-funded projects.

Effect of Nanotechnology-enabled Consumer Sprays on Personal Microbial Environment

Gedi Mainelis and Donna Fennell (SEBS, Environmental Sciences)

(1) Nanoparticles and their agglomerates released during the use of nanotechnology-enabled consumer sprays inactivate airborne and surface-borne microorganisms. (2) Efficiency of microbial inactivation and the extent of cell membrane damage depend on a particular consumer product, its aerosolized particle size distribution and its chemical composition.

Developing Methods for Characterizing the Lung Microbiome

Clifford Weisel, Howard Kipen (RWJMS, Environmental & Occupational Medicine); Shou-En Lu (School of Public Health, Biostatistics), Sabiha Hussain (RWJMS Medicine); Lee Kerkhof (SEBS, Marine and Coastal Sciences)

We hypothesize that the lung microbiome can be characterized in samples collected from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and healthy controls using different collection methods: breath condensate, lung sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and endobronchial biopsy. Our long term goal is to determine how the microbiome changes and interacts with the human host in response to environmental stressors, and how the induced changes to microbiome contributes to progression from a healthy to a diseased state.

Assessment of Neonatal Exposure to Pyrethroid Pesticides and Metabolites in Cord Blood

Stuart Shalat (RWJMS, Environmental & Occupational Medicine); Anna Vetrano (RWJMS, Pediatrics); Brian Buckley (EOHSI Chemical Analytical Laboratory); Jason Richardson (RWJMS Environmental & Occupational Medicine)

Pyrethroid pesticides and their metabolites, which may lead to neurologic or respiratory disorder in children, cross over from the pregnant woman to the fetus and are measurable in cord blood. Several birth outcomes (reduced birth weight and length and head circumference) and neurodevelopmental disorders (including ADHD and mental and motor delays), have been associated with insecticide exposure during development.

This research will develop preliminary information on population levels of pyrethroids in maternal and cord blood to explore association between fetal exposure and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in children later in life and provide pilot data for the future submission of an NIH R01 grant to conduct a longitudinal epidemiologic study.

Effects of green and black tea on gut microbiome and metabolic syndrome in db/db mice

CS Yang (EMSOP, Chemical Biology); Judith Storch (SEBS, Nutritional Sciences); Janet Onishi (SEBS Biochemistry & Microbiology); Michael Moreau (RUCDR Analytical & Informatics)

Tea is the second most popular beverage consumed worldwide. There have been extensive laboratory and human studies suggesting that tea consumption, at daily doses of 3-4 cups or higher, can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including obesity, metabolic syndrome (MetS) and diabetes. In our laboratory we have demonstrated that (-) epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG, the most abundant and biologically active tea polyphenol) at levels of 0.32% in the diet, can prevent or reduce high fat diet-induced obesity, MetS and liver steatosis. Several mechanisms have been proposed for such an effect, including reducing the absorption of fat and proteins, increasing expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation, decreasing expression of genes involved in fatty acid synthesis, increasing expression or translocation of glucose transporters, and/or decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines.

The possibility that tea consumption affects the gut microbiome, which subsequently contributes to the alleviation of MetS, has not been adequately investigated. The db/db mice provide a unique experimental system to investigate the alteration of gut microbiome under conditions simulating MetS. We plan to study the effects of (1) a standardized green tea polyphenol preparation (Polyphenon E) and (2) a black tea polyphenol preparation (containing theaflavins and thearubigins) on intestinal microbiome and parameters of MetS.

Estimating Alzheimer’s Risk by Measurement of OC Pesticides in a NJ Cohort Using SPME

Brian Buckley (EOHSI Chemical Analytical Laboratory); Jason Richardson, Stuart Shalat (RWJMS, Environmental & Occupational Medicine);  Joel Ross (Memory Enhancement Centers of America)

A local population of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients will validate original findings of an association between AD as a positive amyloid or FDG (Flurodeoxyglucose) PET scan and elevated DDE serum concentrations, possibly extending the association to include multiple organochlorine pesticides.

See the Pilot Project Program page for general information.

 September 23, 2014
Jun 022014

Jason Richardson and Lauren Aleksunes, co-PIs, were awarded $1,250,000 (direct costs) by NIH/NIEHS for Gene-Environment Interactions in Neurodegeneration: Role of Efflux Transporters.  (1R01-ES021800-A1, 07/01/14 – 06/30/19).

The overall objective of this proposal is to identify MDR1 as a primary efflux transporter responsible for removing pesticides from the brain and protecting against neurodegeneration. This project will provide a mechanistic insight into the associations between pesticide exposure, MDR1 genetic variation, and neurodegeneration. By studying the interaction of genetic variation, inflammation, and environmental exposure, we will likely demonstrate the convergence of multiple pathways previously implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. This, in turn, could lead to new avenues in identifying individuals most susceptible to pesticides-induced neurotoxicity and potentially lead to therapeutic interventions to increase clearance of pesticides from the brain.

 June 2, 2014
May 142014

CEED, in collaboration with EOHSI, is soliciting applications for its 2014 Pilot Project Program. Pilot funding supports new environmental health research with the potential to improve human health.

* The deadline for submitting proposals has been extended to Monday, June 16, 2014.*

The mission of CEED is to understand how environmental exposures are integrated with host and environmental factors to influence human diseases, and to use this information to improve human health through education, outreach, and mechanistically based intervention, prevention, and treatment modalities.

This year’s RFA encourages interdisciplinary approaches to environmental health sciences. A maximum of $25,000 will be available for each grant; however, budgetary justification will be a significant component in reviewing these grants. The program is open to all Rutgers faculty members, with special consideration given to new faculty members. Membership in the NIEHS Center or in EOHSI is not required, however, collaborative projects with CEED/EOHSI members are strongly encouraged.

The full Request for Proposals (RfP) is available for download here.

 May 14, 2014