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Your Environment. Your Health.

Environmental Health Sciences Center Funded at UNC Chapel Hill

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.
Thursday, May 24, 2001, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Contact: Tom Hawkins, NIEHS
(919) 541-1402

The School of Public Health ( at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( has been selected as the site of a new Environmental Health Sciences Center to be funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (, one of the National Institutes of Health ( , for four years for a total of $3.78 million.

This will be the 22nd such center funded by NIEHS nationwide, and like the others will be charged with community outreach activities related to environmental health.

Center grants allow universities that have developed a critical mass of interdisciplinary expertise, facilities and resources to bring these together under one administrative umbrella to do research and training to advance the environmental health sciences. Although the initial grant is for four years, many of the centers maintain their grants through review after review.

Director of the new UNC Chapel Hill Center is James A. Swenberg, D.V.M., Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and of Pathology and Nutrition in Carolina's Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

The Center will emphasize the study of:

  • Genetic susceptibility-- how variations in people=s genes cause variations in their susceptibility to environmental factors, such as chemicals and radiation.
  • Developmental susceptibility-- how susceptibility differs according to age, particularly from conception through childhood.
  • Toxicokinetic susceptibility-- how toxins move through the body how this leads to greater toxic effects from environmental exposures in some people compared to others.

NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., said, "Many UNC researchers have been the recipients of NIEHS individual and program grants for decades, but the establishment of a Center recognizes the level their scientists have reached and their ability to make major contributions to the environmental health sciences. I am most pleased to congratulate them on the establishment of this newest Environmental Health Sciences Center."

NIEHS, located in Research Triangle Park, N.C., supports 22 centers around the U.S. at universities from Harvard, to University of Iowa, to University of California at Berkeley. UNC at Chapel Hill now joins this select group.

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