NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency will grant up to $54 million in total over the next five years to fund centers to study environmental factors in childhood health and well-being, including genomics research and studies of epigenetics and biomarkers for genetic risk.
These Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers and Formative Centers programs will have several objectives. They will aim to capitalize on findings from epidemiology studies of pregnant women and children; enhance the use of novel findings in basic research into epigenetics, imaging, and other areas; use biomarkers to characterize the effects of human biology and to predict long-term clinical consequences; train new investigators to study emerging issues in children’s environmental health; and ensure stakeholder participation in the research process.
The agencies will give up to $9 million each year for five years to five grants for the research grants and another $3 million per year for three years to fund a companion program to create CEHC Formative Centers.
The Formative Centers should include new and emerging areas of science in children’s health that incorporate innovative technologies.
Studies at the research centers will include discovery of biomarkers that could predict alterations in development that could be used to test hypotheses about environmental exposures, as well as studies of potential genetic or epigenetic effects that may influence susceptibility to such exposures. Researchers also could use the funding to examine the impact of environmental exposures on aspects of genome stability such as microdeletions or duplications, or those that focus on issues related to communication of genetic and environmental risk-factor information to affected communities.