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Participating Organization

Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences

The programs in Environmental and Public Health Sciences continue their excellent institutional, national, and international reputation for training and research. This department regularly receives the most research and training grant dollars of any department in the University. Students have been recognized for their accomplishments at national conferences and meetings. Graduates can be found in prestigious placements in government, academia, health care, and industry.

The Department has a Center for Environmental Genetics, one of the nation’s 21 Environmental Health Science Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Recently, external reviewers commissioned by the Ohio Board of Regents to evaluate Ohio’s PhD graduate programs found the DEH PhD training program to be among the very best in the country. It is one of only five graduate science programs in the state to be classified as “competitive at the highest national level.”

Much of the didactic course work and considerable research will be undertaken in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences (DEPHS), Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics (DEB). The DEB has 16 full-time faculty, 10 faculty with joint or adjunct appointments, and 3 research associates. There are over 60 full-time and over 30 part-time students in the DEB. Of these, about half are physician fellows in pediatrics, reproductive and family medicine.

All classical study designs are currently utilized including randomized clinical trials, longitudinal studies, intervention approaches, retrospective cohort, cross-sectional and case-control methodologies. Current research undertaken in the Division is wide ranging, including health effects related to exposures to lead, arsenic, solvents, fuels, organochlorines, man made mineral fibers, radiation, caffeine, alcohol and illicit drugs as well as statistical issues in regulatory toxicology. The health outcomes currently being studied include reproductive, mutational, genetic, diabetes, obesity, growth and development, neurological disorders, pulmonary disease, injuries, mortality, and exposure body burden.

The student resource room provides computers, printer, access to high-speed internet service, and a computer technician to assist faculty and students. The department’s biological, physical and chemical laboratories are all modern and equipped with a variety of advanced spectrometric and other major instrumentation ideal for student research and training.

A full-fledged molecular genetic laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and technology is housed in the department. This laboratory, directed by Dr. Deka, (the Deputy Director) is involved in identification of susceptibility loci/genes invited in complex diseases and traits. High throughput genotyping using high-density microsatellite markers are used for whole genome scans. The laboratory, occupying about 1200 square feet of space, is equipped with automated DNA sequencers, PCR machines, automated micro-dispensers and all new standard equipment for DNA analysis. Currently three major projects, including two genome scans (one for identification of susceptibility loci for type 2 diabetes and one other for identification of susceptibility loci for obesity), are ongoing in the laboratory. Judging by the nature of these studies and the facilities available, this laboratory will be a major source of active laboratory training. Thus, the department is well equipped as a resource for most studies a student in molecular epidemiology is likely to undertake. The department’s association with the nearby University Hospital, the Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the College of Medicine provides both clinical opportunities for study and teaching.

Department of Pediatrics (DP) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Involvement of the DP and the CCHMC provides a unique aspect to our MECEH program. The MD pediatric fellows receive their clinical training at the CCHMC but most of their didactic course work is in the DEH and the DMG. Research laboratory experiences are shared among all three participating units. We are uniquely able to offer this programmatic focus because of our long term training association with fellows in the DP providing MS degrees in epidemiology as well as our close affiliation with the CCHMC. One of the six buildings is the Institute of Developmental Biology which also includes a Pediatric Clinical Research Center. The CCHMC employees more than 3,700 people and 80% of the region’s pediatricians, pediatric nurses and allied health professionals receive their training at the CCHMC. The DP has 260 full time faculty. Investigators within the DP published over 500 research papers in 326 peer-reviewed journals. Though there are numerous centers in the DP, two primary centers are described below as these have specifically afforded several opportunities for research training for the MECEH fellows.

Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology (DMG)

Graduate students in the DMG pursue their research with access to most, if not all, DNA sequence of the human genome. Their laboratory capabilities can, as new genes are identified, modify these by site-directed mutagenesis studies. Faculty and students are able by using protein expression coupled with the latest analytic techniques in structural biology, analyze the mechanism of action of individual gene products, as well as determine their three-dimensional structures. Their laboratory facilities for functional studies, most relevant to the MECEH use gene products and replacement technologies in the mouse, with a precision that allows replacement of just one of the 6.4 billion base pairs of the diploid nucleus and the DMG are one of the pre-eminent centers of such research in the U.S. Such research will logically lead to advances in therapy for numerous diseases in children and adults. The department is well equipped with microbial and biochemical instruments, biohazard hoods and incubation rooms for microbial and mammalian cell culture systems, and for molecular genetic research in these systems. The DMG has automated DNA sequencing and is a NMR core facility. Trainees have available a Polaroid slide-maker, two laser printers and two scanners. Other major items include many high speed centrifuges, laminar flow holds, ultracentrifuges, ultracold and liquid nitrogen freezers, spectrophotometers, electroblot apparatus, power supplies and UV monitors interfaced with fraction collectors, four scintillation counters, and there are many laboratories equipped for tissue culture and work with DNA and cloning. The MECEH take several courses offered by the DMG.

Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG)

The research conducted by the CEG members reflects a multi-disciplinary approach ranging from the molecule to the human. The fundamental mission of the CEG is to understand variation in response to toxic agents due to underlying, inter-individual differences in genetic predisposition. Underlying genetic predisposition in the human population can dramatically influence individual response to toxic environmental agents. The MECEH fellows have utilized this resource by:

  • having access to members of the CEG, their laboratories and access to the facilities and service cores,
  • attending numerous symposiums, workshops and seminars, and
  • attending research chalk-talks held by the research cores.

In addition, research support services will be available to students through a faculty member, including services such as DNA purification, resequencing of DNA for polymorphisms, genotyping, PCR, cDNA array screening, embryonic stem cell knock-out, and biomonitoring of dose markers, among others.

Cincinnati Children’s Environmental Health Center

The Cincinnati Children’s Environmental Health Center at CCHMC was established to conduct research and training aimed at reducing disease and disability in children caused by environmental hazards. The Center’s goal is to promote health and prevent disease by conducting research on environmental antecedents of diseases that originate in childhood, especially residential hazards. The Center is currently conducting the following research projects:

  • Neurobehavioral effects of prevalent toxicants in children,
  • Validation of meconium markers of fetal neurotoxicant exposures,
  • Identifying residential hazards using home test kits,
  • Early exposure to lead and adult antisocial outcome,
  • Assessment of brain function altered by lead exposure,
  • a Cincinnati asthma prevention study.

Center For Biostatistical Services (CBS)

The Center for Biostatistical Services (CBS) is a University-wide Service unit at the University of Cincinnati. This core facility is available for biostatistical/statistical consulting and service to all full-time faculty in the medical center as well as to faculty in other colleges at the West Campus. A major component of the statistical services provided by the center is “participation and collaboration in grant preparation for extramural funding”. Graduate students working for the Center acquire “real world” experience of statistical consultations by participating in Center activities.

Cincinnati Children’s Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS)

This ongoing population study, funded by NIEHS, seeks to understand how air pollution in our city and exposure to normal house dust and pollen can cause allergies, hay fever and asthma in some children and not in others.

Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Research interests of the faculty at The Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics include protection of young children against viral infectious diseases through human milk immunologic factors, breastfeeding support, vaccines, and other approaches; genetic epidemiology and statistics of complex diseases; interrater reliability and problems of correlated data; Bayesian statistical approaches to statistical causal inference, structural equation modeling, sequential analysis and analysis of clinical trials; molecular epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders.

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Department of Environmental & Public Health Sciences
Kettering Lab Building
160 Panzeca Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056
Mail Location: 0056

Phone: 513-558-5701