The HUMan and ANimal Exposure (HUMANE) Facility Core provides CEED members with unique and powerful tools to fulfill the Center’s vision of addressing the environmental health concerns of NJ residents by focusing efforts on the environmental challenges of its most affected populations. HUMANE works with basic and clinical researchers to design and implement experiments that assess how individual or complex real-world exposures affect biological response indicators linked to adverse health outcomes in humans and animal models. HUMANE utilizes cutting-edge exposure generation platforms coupled to real-time and time-integrated measurement of legacy and emerging environmental/occupational toxicants in the Core’s human Controlled Exposure Facility (CEF) and the Animal Exposure Facility (AEF). HUMANE also assists CEED investigators with inhalation exposure studies aimed at examining the interactions between relevant toxicants and variables such as temperature, humidity, physical activity, psychosocial stress, and pre-existing conditions or co-morbidities.
The overall goal of HUMANE is to provide CEED investigators with access to human and animal exposure platforms and expertise in the design and execution of experiments utilizing these systems. For human studies, the Core works closely with the CEED Translational Research Support Core (TRSC) on participant protocols, recruitment, screening and selection, ensuring that studies have an adequate sample size for statistical power, appropriate analytical tools for the proposed experiment, and that safety protocols are approved by the IRB. TRSC members and EOHSI Environmental and Occupational Health Clinical Center (EOHCC) personnel provide clinical oversight for human participants before, during and after exposures. For animal studies, HUMANE works with individual CEED investigators on exposures, experimental design, and scientific rigor and IACUC approval.
The HUMANE Facility Core coordinates with the Career Development Program in the CEED Administrative Core to offer training for students, fellows, residents, and early career scientists in controlled exposure of human participants and animals.
Predoctoral students in the Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology are provided an opportunity to rotate through the HUMANE Facility Core and the laboratories of CEED faculty members who perform human and/or animal inhalation exposure studies during a three-month rotation.
For CEED investigators and trainees in their labs, the HUMANE Facility Core has an active training program for new users of the Core’s facilities. HUMANE also assists in the development of specific technologies and protocols configured to specific project needs and works with investigators to develop applications for CEED Career Development Awards, Pilot Project grants and other funding opportunities.
To reach broader audiences, the HUMANE Core offers workshops and information sessions twice a year to familiarize investigators with the type of equipment available for use and the specific services that are available. These workshops and information sessions are advertised across the University community attracting new investigators interested in environmental health research to CEED.
The room-sized exposure chamber is located in the EOHSI building. The CEF consists of a ~25 m3 stainless steel room, which is controlled for temperature, humidity, and air exchange rate. The temperature control ranges roughly from 55º to 95º ± 1ºF, and the relative humidity from approximately 15% to 85% ± 2%. This wide range of parameters will also be feasible after the renovation and will allow CEED researchers to use the CEF as a “Climate Simulator” recreating extreme weather conditions.
The AEF is located in the EOHSI building Both Plexiglas and stainless-steel chambers including BUXCO systems are available to CEED investigators for whole body and nose only rodent inhalation exposures. Temperature and humidity are monitored and recorded continuously throughout the exposures. Real time and time integrated systems for the physicochemical characterization of particles and other gaseous co-pollutants are used for a comprehensive exposure characterization.
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