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  • CEG News at a Glance, 2021 April\May: PDF
  • CEG News at a Glance, 2021 March\April: PDF

Yolton, Cecil, Ryan Team earns $5 million NIEHS R01 Award

Kim Yolton Kim Cecil Patrick Ryan CCHMCCEG Internal Advisory Board member Kimberly Yolton, PhD, Professor and  Director of Research Section, General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and fellow CEG members Patrick H. Ryan, PhD, MS, Professor of Pediatrics, and Kim Cecil, PhD, Professor in the Department of Radiology, have received a new 5-year NIEHS R01 award: Longitudinal Impact of Air Pollution on Mental Health and Neuroimaging Outcomes during Adolescence in the Cincinnati Combined Childhood Cohorts (C4). R01 ES031621. Co-PI Patrick H. Ryan, PhD, MS, Professor of Pediatrics, and co-investigator Kim Cecil, PhD, are also CEG members. Project start-end 3/3/2021–12/31/2025, total 2021 funding $1.1 million.

The team will use existing longitudinal data from the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS) and the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) Study to address the hypothesis that exposure to air pollution during critical periods of brain development, including adolescence, is associated with adverse mental health outcomes.

Both prospective cohorts have been followed from birth and evaluated with concordant measures of mental health and neuroimaging at age 12 years. The team will conduct new follow-up at age 18 years to assess the onset and persistence of mental health outcomes through adolescence and apply validated models for PM2.5 and TRAP to characterize air pollution exposure from conception through age 18 years. The team also will acquire novel neuroimaging outcomes, including brain-aminobutyric acid and glutathione concentrations accompanied by anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The team aims  to determine (1) the association between exposure to PM2.5 and TRAP during distinct developmental periods and the onset and persistence of mental health outcomes in adolescence; (2) the association between exposure to PM2.5 and TRAP during distinct developmental periods and neuroimaging outcomes in late adolescence; and (3) whether changes in brain volume, organization, metabolism, and function mediate associations between PM2.5 and TRAP exposure and mental health outcomes.

New Publications of Note

  • Biro FM, Huang B, Wasserman H, Gordon CM, Pinney SM. Pubertal Growth, IGF-1, and Windows of Susceptibility: Puberty and Future Breast Cancer Risk. J Adolesc Health. 2021 Mar;68(3):517-522. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.07.016. Epub 2020 Sep 1. PMID: 32888770; PMCID: PMC7902462.
  • Reigle J, Secic D, Biesiada J, Wetzel C, Shamsaei B, Chu J, Zang Y, Zhang X, Talbot NJ, Bischoff ME, Zhang Y, Thakar CV, Gaitonde K, Sidana A, Bui H, Cunningham JT, Zhang Q, Schmidt LS, Linehan WM, Medvedovic M, Plas DR, Figueroa JAL, Meller J, Czyzyk-Krzeska MF. Tobacco smoking induces metabolic reprogramming of renal cell carcinoma. J Clin Invest. PMID: 32970633. PMCID: PMC7773408.

Photo of Michelle Burbage, PhDMichelle Burbage, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences, has been named co-leader of the CEG Community Engagement Core (CEC). Dr. Burbage will work alongside CEC Director Nicholas Newman, D.O., M.S., and Program Manager Angela Larck, MSOL, to advance community-based participatory research and the translation of scientific knowledge among grassroots partners. Dr. Burbage has worked on projects with the Ronald McDonald House, Urban Appalachian Council, YWCA’s mammogram outreach program, and local schools and health departments. In 2018 Burbage received the prestigious Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellowship of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Community Engagement Core provides fosters bi-directional communication between population and bench scientists specializing in the study of gene-environment interactions and stakeholders throughout our region.

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CEG’s Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Research Focus Group meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month. All are welcome.  For details please contact Katherine Burns, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences. For details about the CEG's ImmunoToxicology Forum contact Jagjit Yadav, PhD.  For details about the Smoking-related Cancers Research Focus Group contact Scott Langevin, MHA, PhD.  All are welcome.

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The CEG welcomes the Center's 3 newest members:

Photo head shot of John ReichardDr. John Reichard, Assistant Professor in the Division of Industrial Hygiene in the UC Department of Environmental and Public Health Science. His research interests include applied human toxicology and chemical risk analysis, and he brings to the CEG highly respected expertise in mechanistic toxicology, pharmacology, risk assessment and computational exposure modeling. He is currently collaborating with CEG members Susan Pinney, Ph.D., F.A.C.E. and Changchun Xie, Ph.D. on Dr. Pinney's R24 award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Fernald Community Cohort: Research Resource for Environmental Epidemiology (R24 ES028527). CEG Associate member.

Photo head shot of Dr. Edward J. Merino, also known as Eddie MerinoEdward J. Merino, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry in the UC College of Arts and Sciences and a chemist with research interests at the juncture between chemistry and biology. Dr. Merino has been part of research teams that develop molecules to selectively kill cancer cells that have reactive oxygen species, generate new sunscreens to prevent DNA damage, and projects wherein he serves as the chemistry lead to develop new bioactive molecules.  A particular interest is molecular design toward new technology, especially through reactivity. He is currently collaborating with Dr. Anna Luisa Kadekaro, a former CEG Career Development Awardee, on an NIEHS R15 award, Limiting UV-induced genome instability with self-cycling antioxidant reagents (R15 ES029675). CEG Full member.

Photo head shot of Dr. William E. MillerWilliam Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the  Molecular Genetics Graduate Program in the UC College of Medicine.The Miller laboratory is interested in the mechanisms by which microbial pathogens manipulate host cell signal transduction pathways. Our main focus is on using cytomegaloviruses as model systems to examine how pathogens alter G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling pathways.  Dr. Miller is director of the NIEHS-funded Environmental Carcinogeneses and Mutagenesis T32 Training Program at the University of Cincinnati (T32 ES007250). Co-Leader: CEG Associate Director Alvaro Puga, Ph.D. CEG Full member.

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CEG members Chia-I Ko, PhD, and Kelly Brunst, PhD, received major awards from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in 2020: Dr. Ko, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, was awarded nearly a quarter of a million dollars in year 1 for her study, “Disruption of Pluripotency by Dioxin Exposure,” R21 ES031190. Dr. Brunst, an assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology, was awarded more than a half million dollars in year 1 for her 5-year R01 study, R01 ES031054, “Epigenetics, Air Pollution, and Childhood Mental Health.”

brunstkellyBrunst’s study seeks to determine whether exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) during childhood and adolescence impacts the epigenome and whether changes in DNA methylation can be used to identify children at increased risk for anxiety and depression. Using the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS) and Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) study birth cohort, the Brunst team will conduct an epigenome-wide search for DNA methylation biomarkers associated with PM2.5 and TRAP exposure prenatally through age 12 years (n=500) and identify unique and pollution-related DNA methylation signatures associated with anxiety and depression. The team will aim to replicate its findings in a third, independent birth cohort, Project Viva (n=652), with similar sociodemographic characteristics and available air pollution and neuro-developmental outcome data

ko-chia-i-jpegKo’s R-21 study will use an advanced 3D chromatin structure approach to study toxic effects in pluripotency networks resulting from environmental exposure. Dr. Ko’s in vivo model is expected to lead to better understanding of the mechanisms of developmental toxicity of dioxins, making it possible to arrive at prevention and intervention approaches to deal with embryonic environmental injury. Earlier this year Dr. Ko received a $15,000 Pilot award (innovator award category) from the CEG for her project, “Disruption of pluripotency and differentiation of preimplantation embryonic cells by dioxin exposure.”

Dr. Ko is among several CEG-affiliated researchers honored by the UC College of Medicine Office of Research in its Gallery of Awardees,which recognizes faculty members who have been awarded external grants of $100,000/year or more in direct costs. The Gallery has included 2019 CEG Pilot awardee Senu Apewokin, M.D., who has received a 5-year K-08 award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for his study “Harnessing induced human intestinal organoids (IHIOS) and metagenomics to unravel host immune-microbiota interactions during cancer chemotherapy-associated clostridium difficile infections.Photo of Senu Apewokin, MD, January 2020 television news reportIn 2020, Dr. Apewokin received a Step 1 Processes & Method Award under the UC Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) Processes & Methods Grant Program. Together with Dr. Zhang Peng of the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Apewokin received the CCTST award for the project “Non-invasive hydrogen monitoring for microbiome assessments during chemotherapy." Dr. Apewokin collaborated with CEG Director Susan M. Pinney on the CEG-funded Pilot project “Association between PFOA Exposure and Humoral Responses to Pneumococcal Vaccines” (2019 New to Environmental Health Science award, $25K).  Dr. Apewokin is pictured here in a local television news interview conducted earlier this year on the then-looming CoVid19 pandemic.

tso-patrickThe 2020 Gallery of Awardees also featured CEG members Katie Burns, Ph.D., and her funded study, “Targeting Neutrophilic Responses in the Initiation of Endometriosis,” and Patrick Tso, Ph.D., Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for his work on the “Evaluation of Structural and Compositional Lipid Technologies Upon Nutrient Absorption and Deposition.” 

Other CEG members recently honored in the Gallery of Awardees (Care\Crawley Atrium) include

  • CEG Deputy Director Jagjit Yadav, PhD, Division of Toxicology. NIOSH R21 award: Circulating Cell-free Antigens for Monitoring of Machining Fluids.
  • Jane Yu, PhD, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute R01 award, “Uterine Signaling Networks in the Pathogenesis of Pulmonary Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)” and the study “Dysregulation of Sphingolipid Metabolism and Actions in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex."
  • John Reichard, PharmD, PhD, Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, Risk Science Center, Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreement.
  • Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)  R01 award, “Slow Myosin Binding Protein-C in Skeletal Muscle Physiology."

The Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) system is used to submit applications electronically to NIEHS and other NIH and Public Health Service agencies. It is also used to ensure PIs' compliance with timely reporting of Human Subjects Study inclusion enrollment data, etc. Delays and errors in Human Subjects reporting via ASSIST can delay or jeopardize individual and Center funding; hence, this guidance on Navigating ASSIST for Human Subjects and Clinical Trials, presented by NIEHS staff specialist Martha Barnes, M.S. is important for PIs and their staff: PPT slides accessible here (PDF). Webinar recording accessible here (mp4 file).

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