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Texas A&M Lands $3M EPA Toxicity Grant

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb news) – Texas A&M's Institute for Genomic Medicine will receive $3.2 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct genomics research as part of a program that includes the University of Houston and Indiana University and is studying how chemicals may affect human health.

The university said today that it will receive $750,000 over three years from the EPA's Science to Achieve Results Program (STAR), which it will use to be a member of the Texas-Indiana Virtual STAR Center.

The virtual center is focused on assessing chemical risk by creating in vitro screening models of mouse embryonic stem cells, which will be done by TIGM, and zebrafish toxicity studies, which will be done by the University of Houston. Indiana University will use the data from these studies to develop predictive computer models for studying toxicity and human embryonic development.

The overall results will be incorporated with other initiatives to develop a screening effort that will prioritize chemicals that merit more study.

TIGM will aim to determine the impact of selected environmental chemicals on specific natural processes such as cardiac, neural, hematopoietic, and vascular development in the mouse. TIGM also noted that it maintains the world's largest knockout mouse embryonic stem cells repository.

The Institute's Executive Director, Richard Finnell, said that the researchers "will assess the impact of industrial chemicals on reproductive health and set priorities to protect and create healthy work and living environments."

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