NIEHS awards DISCOVER grants

December 27, 2007

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, is awarding a total of $6.8 million for the first year of funding to three new research centers called DISCOVER - Disease Investigation Through Specialized Clinically-Oriented Ventures in Environmental Research. The new DISCOVER centers are expected to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical treatment of diseases caused by environmental factors.

"The DISCOVER centers will help to define the role of environmental agents in the initiation and progression of human disease and develop new ways to both prevent and treat disease," said Dennis Lang, Ph.D., interim director, NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training, as he announced the new awards. "The potential impact of the research that these three centers will be conducting is enormous."

The NIEHS launched the DISCOVER program in January 2006 when the initial grant opportunities were announced. The centers reflect an integrated research approach expected to advance our understanding of how the environment interacts with biological processes to either preserve health or cause disease by bringing together laboratory research and population based studies.

"The research being supported through this program is unique in that each DISCOVER center will support projects that will be patient-or clinically oriented, while also looking at the mechanisms of how certain environmental factors influence disease etiology, pathogenesis, susceptibility, progression, and prognosis," said David Balshaw, Ph.D., one of the scientists at NIEHS who helped develop the program.

Balshaw points out that the new centers reflect the commitment of NIEHS to children's health research. "Two of the DISCOVER centers are direct extensions of previously funded Centers for Children's Environmental Health. The DISCOVER centers will focus their efforts on understanding the clinical impact of environmental exposures in children and extending that research to improve diagnosis and clinical intervention. We believe this work will also inform public policy and community education aimed at reducing the burden of children's asthma," Balshaw said.

The three new centers are:
-end-
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health. For more information on environmental health topics, please visit our website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--the nation's medical research agency--includes 27 institutes and centers, and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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