Environmental health science research has traditionally taken place within specific areas of interest, but partnerships among scientists who might not normally work together can help quicken the pace at which research moves forward.
The NIEHS Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (ViCTER) program fosters the exchange of knowledge and resources to improve human health by bringing together an environmental health researcher and two new collaborators. Each consortium focuses on an area where environmental factors are known or expected to influence the development or progression of disease.
The consortia are virtual in that some or all of the participants can be at different institutions, collaborating through regular conference calls, webinars, and annual meetings. Each member contributes new research goals that cross disciplines or that involve various research methods such as animal and human studies. The synergy resulting from the new research teams may stimulate fresh perspectives or new approaches to studying an environmental health topic.
What NIEHS Is Doing
Consortia funded by NIEHS are investigating a range of environmental health research questions. For example, scientists are working together to:
- Understand the mechanism underlying an established association between air pollution and autism spectrum disorder through mouse and epidemiologic studies.
- Develop biomarkers for environmental manganese exposure from in vitro and in vivo model systems.
- Identify factors tied to asthma susceptibility using animal and human tissue samples.
- Improve chemical hazard testing for air pollution-related lung disease by combining environmental engineering methods with mouse and human cell culture studies.
- Examine how prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls affects child brain development using animal and human cell culture studies.