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Your Environment. Your Health.

Historically Black and Research-Intensive Universities Partner under Grants Aimed at Broadening U.S. Science Base

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

News Release

Archive - New Contact Information

For more information about this archival news release, please contact Christine Flowers, Director, Office of Communications & Public Liaison at (919) 541-3665.
Wednesday, September 22, 1999, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Contact: Bill Grigg, NIEHS
(301) 402-3378

In an innovation aimed at broadening the academic base for cellular and genetic research related to the environment, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ( and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences ( today announced the first environmental health research grants pairing historically black colleges and universities with high-tech, research-intensive universities in Louisiana and Texas.

"The first -- hopefully the first of many - of these partner research grants are each funded at approximately $1 million annually for five years," NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., said today. They go to:

The college of pharmacy at the historically black Xavier University of Louisiana ( partnered with Tulane University ( , to study how substances in the environment can alter genes and stress the heart. Both are in New Orleans ( .

The historically black Southern University ( at Baton Rouge, La., partnered with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston ( , to study the effects of butadiene, a petroleum-related chemical used in making synthetic rubber, on DNA damage and repair.

NIGMS Director Marvin Cassman, Ph.D., said, "These new grants represent a cooperative effort between two Institutes of the NIH. They strengthen the research capabilities of faculty at minority-serving institutions, providing them with opportunities to conduct competitive research in environmental health sciences."

The new program has an acronym, ARCH, which stands for Advanced Research Cooperation in Environmental Health.

NIEHS' Dr. Olden said, "This is an important program - one that can do wonders for the scientific research and training at relatively small, traditionally black colleges and universities which often are struggling to broaden and improve their research base and their science programs.

"It is our intention to expand this program with additional partnership grants over the next few years, to continue development of the research capacity of minority-serving institutions which have research scientists who are committed to understanding the impact of environmental exposures on human health."

The grants establish core facilities at Xavier and Southern University at Baton Rouge to support current and future research programs in areas of environmental health -- the environment-related causes of disease.

Robert Blake II of Xavier and Arnold Brody of Tulane are the principal investigators for the initial Xavier/Tulane research. Perpetua Muganda of Southern and Stephen Lloyd of UTMB are the principal investigators for the Southern/UTMB collaboration.

NIEHS is located primarily in Research Triangle Park, N.C. ( , while NIGMS is on the Bethesda, Md. ( , campus of NIH ( .

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