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  • CEG News at a Glance, 2022 Aug: PDF
  • CEG News at a Glance, 2022 July: PDF
  • CEG News at a Glance, 2022 May\June: PDF

Four members of the CEG presentied their work at the Annual Meeting of NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHS CC) at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City, July 13 -15.  This year’s meeting was sponsored by the Transdisciplinary Center on Effects of Early Environmental Exposures (P30 ES023515) and Institute for Exposomic Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  Investigators to be presenting include

  • Angelico Mendy, MD, MPH, PhD.  Co-authors: Aimin Chen, MD, PhD; Kimberly Yolton, PhD. Title of Poster: Early Life Exposure to Replacement Flame Retardants and Child Respiratory Outcomes (Abstract here).
  • Susan M. Pinney, PhD, FACE. Co-authors: Marilyn V. Howarth2*, Kathleen M. Vandiver3*, Adrian Wood2, Bob Adams2, Joyce Bentle1, Sharon Cooke-Vargus2, Lisa Crawford1, Graham Mitchell1, Martha K. Stevenson3, Suzanne M. Sullivan3, Kent Meloy1, Kayla McGill1 (1Community Engagement Core, University of Cincinnati Center for Environmental Genetics. 2Community Engagement Core, University of Pennsylvania Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology. 3Community Engagement Core, MIT Superfund Research Program. * contributed equally to the project).  Title of Poster: Lessons Learned Along the Road to Hazardous Waste Clean-up (Abstract here).
  • Michelle Burbage, PhD. Co-author: Nicholas Newman, DO, MS, FAAP.  Title of Poster: Fostering Meaningful Bidirectional Community-Academic Engagement (Abstract here.
  • Nicholas Newman, DO, MS, FAAP. Co-authors: Reid Hartman, MD; Joseph Kiesler, MD. Title of Poster: Integrating Environmental Medicine into Pre-Clinical Physician Education: Lessons Learned (Abstract here).

As reported in the Dean's List (May 16) Richard Woychik, PhD, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) visited Cincinnati on May 10 and met with community members and CEG investigators to discuss environmental health issues in Cincinnati:

Group photo at Roebling Bridge

Pictured above, left to right: Dave Schmitt, executive director, Mill Creek Alliance; Michelle Burbage, PhD, assistant professor, DEPHS; Susan Pinney, PhD, professor and CEG director; Nick Newman, DO, MS, FAAP assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics & CEC leader; Richard Woychik, PhD, director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Liam O’Fallon, health specialist, NIEHS Human Population Branch; George Leikauf, PhD, then-Chair of Environmental & Public Health Sciences; Jagjit Yadav, PhD, CEG deputy director and professor, DEPHS; Katherine Burns, PhD, associate professor, DEPHS; Chuck Doarn, MBA, professor, DEPHS. 

“I really enjoyed meeting the investigators behind the work that we support at the University of Cincinnati,” Woychik said. “I greatly appreciated the time that Dean Andrew Filak, Dr. George Leikauf, and Dr. Susan Pinney spent with me, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the work of investigators Drs. Katherine Burns, Senu Apewokin and Angelico Mendy, who are clearly very capable and will help drive the future of environmental health sciences.” 

Pinney, professor in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences (DEPHS) and director of the CEG, coordinated Woychik’s visit. Burns, associate professor in the DEPHS, discussed her research on endocrine disrupting chemicals and endometriosis. Apewokin, associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, addressed per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances and response to pneumococcal vaccination. Mendy, assistant professor in the DEPHS, discussed air pollution and COVID-19. 

Woychik and O’Fallon joined several DEPHS faculty members in visiting two locations in Cincinnati to discuss health issues. Visit stops included Smale Park along Cincinnati’s waterfront, where Dave Schmitt, executive director of the Mill Creek Alliance, led a discussion on water issues, and Groundwork Ohio River Valley in Price Hill, where Alan Edwards, chief executive officer of the organization, presented their air pollution monitoring project.

“I was especially impressed by the Community Engagement Core that’s under the direction of Dr. Nick Newman,” Woychik said. Newman also is assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics. “And, I was really inspired by the community member presentations from Urban Health Pathway director Dena Cranley and Center for Closing the Health Gap CEO Renee Mahaffey. Visiting the neighborhoods and talking with residents just reinforced the importance that community engagement plays in helping us achieve our mission at NIEHS,” Woychik added.   

The community forum, which was attended by local government and public health officials and community leaders to discuss precision environmental health and its significance for the region, attracted more than 80 people.

Meet our latest New Investigator Awardee (NIA 2022 - 2024) Photo of Nalinikanth Kotagiri, PhDNalinikanth Kotagiri, Ph.D., MBBS, Assistant Professor, UC College of Pharmacy. Dr. Nalinikanth's research interests are primarily in therapeutic agents, but recently Dr. Kotagiri was awarded a $484,000 DoD grant to protect skin from ultraviolet light: MRP Idea Award:,“Engineering skin microbiome to generate natural sunscreens for prevention of melanoma” (Role PI. 7/1/21 – 6/30/24). CEG Associate member. Mentor: Zalfa Abdel-Malek, PhD.

On a biennial basis, the Center for Environmental Genetics may recognize up to three New Investigator Awardees (NIA’s) for a 2-year term. These are promising junior tenure-track faculty members with demonstrated interest in environmental health science. NIA’s receive $25,000 in salary support and associated benefits each year, contingent on 1st year performance.  Applications for New Investigator Awards must include a nomination letter from the proposed mentor, copies of the applicant’s and mentor’s CVs, and a personal statement by the applicant specifying his or her plans for environmental health research over the 2-years of CEG funding. The statement should include planned NIEHS grant submissions. 

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    Coon Research Group BenefieldThe CEG was pleased to host Desiree A. Benefield, PhD, a research scientist in the UC Cardiovascular Research Center, for her April presentation on Cryo Electron Microscopy: CryoEM Capabilities at UC. Dr. Benefield has used advanced Cryo-em techniques to advance understanding of positive-strand RNA virus genome replication mechanisms. This seminar featured CryoEM core facility services now available to investigators. 

    Dr. Benefield's talk was designed to highlight yet another new resource at UC and CCHMC and is part of lecture series organized by the CEG Integrative Technologies Support (ITS) Core, led by Ying Xia, PhD. Co-leader: Ranjan Deka, PhD. In March, the ITS Core hosted a seminar on Highly efficient CRISPR editing and inducible CRISPRi/a/ko services. Presented by Dr. Yueh-Chiang Hu, director of the Transgenic Animal and Genome Editing Core, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), March 30th.

    Photo of Yueh Chian Hu, PhDThe Transgenic and Genome Editing Core has expanded its conventional services to include transgenic and chimeric animal production, cryopreservation, embryo transfer, BAC transgenics, mouse stem cell targeting and mouse recovery via IVF, ICSI or ROSI. In collaboration with the Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility at CCHMC, it has also established streamlined hiPS cell gene editing services. The core's services are in such high demand that Dr. Hu and colleagues have tripled the size of their team since 2013. The TAGE core has completed hundreds of genome editing projects, at a pace of one per week, with few failures. These and other previously recorded seminars may be viewed courtesy of the DEPHS Graduate Office.

    Portrait of Xiang Zhang PhDThe Genomics and Epigenomics Sequencing Core (GESC), managed by Xiang Zhang, PhD, has an online form for requesting services: CEG investigators who use GESC services should self-identify as CEG members, in order to enhance Center reporting of research productivity. CEG members also should indicate on the form whether they would additionally like their data to be transferred to the CEG Bioinformatics Core (Director: Mario Medvedovic, PhD). The Bioinformatics Core offers long-term data storage, as well as options for highly sophisticated data analysis.

    Integrative Technologies Support (ITS) Core Funding Available: CEG members are eligible for ITS Subsidies (i.e., matching funds) for use of certain cores and services, including Bioinformatics support. PIs with currently funded CEG Pilot awards may receive pro bono Bioinformatics support for the CEG-funded project. Details and an application form can be obtained on the ITS Core Web page.

    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 Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) system is used to submit applications electronically to NIEHS and other NIH 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 jeopardize individual and Center funding; hence, this guidance on Navigating ASSIST for Human Subjects and Clinical Trials, is important for PIs and their staff: PPT slides accessible here (PDF). Webinar recording accessible here (mp4 file).


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