Environmental Factor, December 2008, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Chinese Delegation Visits NIEHS
By Eddy Ball
On November 14, a contingent of Chinese government officials involved in a four-month executive education and English-language immersion program at Duke University attended a half-day workshop at NIEHS as part of their series of weekly field experiences. The program was organized by Public Affairs Specialist John Peterson and program chair and Deputy Scientific Director Bill Schrader, Ph.D.
NIEHS Acting Scientific Director Perry Blackshear, M.D., D.Phil., National Toxicology Program (NTP) Associate Director John Bucher, Ph.D., and Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) Acting Director Dennis Lang, Ph.D., presented overviews of the scientific activities and organizational structure of their respective areas during the first session of the workshop.
The Chinese delegates are involved in a broad range of government functions - science and technology, accounting and financial management, foreign affairs, and policy and legal affairs. Most of their questions during the first session focused on the structure of NIH and NIEHS, the Institute's role policy making, its funding mechanisms and its interactions with other government agencies and interest groups.
The second session of the workshop featured Chinese-born scientists working at NIEHS, who presented talks in their native Mandarin Chinese:
- Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) International Program Manager and Editor Hui Hu, who discussed the journal's quarterly Chinese language edition, its student edition and science education resources, and its partnership with the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Epidemiology Branch Tenure-track Investigator Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., who reviewed his research into the genetic and environmental causes of Parkinson's disease, as well as his upcoming Shanghai Parkinson's Study, which will investigate environmental, genetic and biomarker risk factors in Chinese women
- Biostatistics Branch Principal Investigator Leping Li, Ph.D., who uses computer-based analytical models and methods to detect and discover functional elements in the promoter regions of genes involved in transcription
- Laboratory of Signal Transduction Principal Investigator Xiaoling Li, Ph.D., who studies the interaction of genes and environment in the progress of aging by focusing on the genetic pathways that play regulatory roles in this process
Following the talks and a tour of the investigators' lab facilities, the delegation rejoined Program Assistants Jessica Sapaugh and Derek Delong for the trip back to the Duke Center for International Development (http://www.pubpol.duke.edu/centers/dcid/) , where they will pursue their intensive studies through mid-December.