Research Centers to Study Environment's Impact on Health
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.
"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.
David Balshaw, Ph.D., one of the scientists at NIEHS who helped
develop the program, stated: "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."