Training Grants


NYU/NIEHS Training Grant in Environmental Toxicology

The NYU/NIEHS training program in Environmental Toxicology program is housed in the Department of Environmental Medicine.  This NIEHS grant funding supports (4) predoctoral students and (2) postdoctoral fellows. The major research goals of the Department of Environmental Medicine are to study environmental factors that impinge upon human disease and to develop methods for the detection, prevention, and control of environmentally related disorders.  The problems of environmental health are complex and require interdisciplinary approaches from the molecular, cellular, whole organism, and even population levels.  To facilitate these essential multidisciplinary mechanistic investigations, the Department has integrated the efforts of established scientists and resources from the New York University School of Medicine, the New York University community at large, and the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium in the New York Metropolitan area.  This opportunity is a major advantage of the training program at NYU School of Medicine's Department of Environmental Medicine.

Research Tracks:  The Training Program in Environmental Toxicology encompasses research in Pulmonary Toxicology and Molecular Toxicology


Pulmonary Toxicology

Beginning with the pioneering work of Professor Sidney Laskin, the Department has developed an international reputation for outstanding accomplishments in the area of pulmonary (inhalation) toxicology, and this record of excellence currently continues.
Inhalation is a primary route of exposure for many environmental contaminants.  The fact that pulmonary (or systemic) disease can be caused by inhaled environmental agents has been known for centuries.  Increasing concern over the role of both outdoor and indoor air environments in disease etiology has resulted in rapid growth of the field of respiratory toxicology and in turn an demand for well-trained inhalation toxicology investigators who can apply state-of-the-art exposure methodology and concepts to solving real-world problems of public health.

Sample Research Topics

  • Investigating toxicological mechanisms behind human morbidity and mortality associated with exposure to ambient particulate matter
  • Mechanistic studies on the modulatory roles of gender, age, and genetic susceptibility in the adverse health effects of environmental and occupational agents


Molecular Toxicology

The Department of Environmental Medicine has been a leader in the area of environmental toxicology from the
pioneering investigations with phorbol esters, to current studies on mechanisms of metal toxicity and carcinogenicity. 

Molecular Toxicology deals with the interaction of chemical agents with genetic material, receptors, signal
transduction pathways, cell cycle controls, transcription control, epigenetics and the identification of genes conferring resistance or sensitivity towards environmental agents.  A significant amount of research involves environmental carcinogenesis.  Research efforts in Molecular Toxicology draws from diverse scientific disciplines such as organic chemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and experimental pathology.  The Environmental Toxicology Training Program provides trainees with the resources and specialized skills needed to
address these areas of concern.

Research Areas

  • Toxicology and carcinogenicity of metals, especially related to the biochemistry of
    metal-mediated active oxygen species and their biological effects
  • Chemistry of DNA-carcinogen interactions
  • Molecular mechanisms of gene activation and alteration
  • Epigenetics
  • Biological parameters of tumor progression
  • Mutational specificity of carcinogens
  • Molecular basis for resistance to environmental agents
  • Effects of hormones on gene expression and carcinogenicity
  • Cell cycle control
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Chemoprevention


Predoctoral Training:

Graduate training is primarily directed towards earning a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Health Sciences,
although programs leading towards a master's degree are also offered.  During the time of training support emphasis will be placed on class work and an in-depth laboratory experience where trainees will learn how to apply modern technology to mechanistically-oriented, hypothesis-driven questions important in molecular and inhalation toxicology.  Trainees will benefit from the vigorous and diverse research programs ongoing in the Department of Environmental Medicine and other research units at NYU.


How to Apply

Prospective trainees should apply to, and enroll directly in, the Environmental Health Sciences Graduate



The courses for NIEHS funded predoctoral trainees will be the same as for other students enrolled in the
Department of Environmental Medicine's training program.  However, students can also take courses in other departments and schools, such as Biology, Chemistry, Basic Medical Sciences, NYU School of Law, Stern School of Business, and Wagner School of Public Administration.  This is especially beneficial in cases where student research is carried out on an aspect of environmental health science that is collaborative with other disciplines.



During the 2013/14 academic year, predoctoral trainees received an annual stipend of $30,000.  This is the level of support received by all basic medical science trainees at NYU School of Medicine.



Tuition is waived for predoctoral trainees.


Duration of Support

This NIEHS Training Grant supports each predoctoral candidate for 2 years.  Although a predoctoral trainee requires more than the proposed amount of time for completion of training, support from this training grant is critical during the first two years when most of the formal coursework is taken and trainees are performing laboratory rotations and selecting a Mentor.


Postdoctoral Training

The postdoctoral training program emphasizes research conducted on a particular project in collaboration with a selected faculty member. Interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged for postdoctoral research projects so that trainees can gain maximum experience in several aspects of toxicology.  

The Environmental Toxicology Training Program is also designed for individuals who wish to have a career in environmental toxicology, but whose doctoral training was taken in another area.  In particular, we're interested in young investigators with strong backgrounds in molecular biology who may prove particularly skillful in investigating mechanistic bases of environmental disease.



The candidate must be a US citizen or have a Green Card. 


How to Apply

All postdoctoral applicants must complete a standard application that consists of: the applicant's full CV; three letters of reference; and a brief proposal (1-2 pages) that outlines their intended research plan.


Financial Support

Postdoctoral trainees can be supported on the Training Grant for up to three years, although the norm is 2 years.

It is possible to extend this time period by receiving an exploratory studies Pilot Program grant through the
NYU NIEHS Center, or for an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship.

In addition, we encourage postdocs to apply for their own individual Fellowships and require them to take the Grant Writing course described in the predoctoral section above.  It is expected that all postdoctoral trainees will submit at least 1 grant proposal during their 2-year tenure in this program.


Program Faculty: Descriptions of mentors' research programs are briefly listed here.

Lung Chi Chen, Professor:  Inhalation toxicology; exposure-response relationships; adverse cardiopulmonary effects of air pollution.

Max Costa, Professor; Chair:  Metal carcinogenesis and toxicology; DNA-protein interactions; DNA damage; histone modifications and epigenetic mechanism of carcinogenesis.

Wei Dai, Professor:  Molecular Carcinogenesis, Cell cycle checkpoint control, Genomic Instability

Terry Gordon, Professor:  Genetic susceptibility of lung disease produced by environmental and occupational agents.

Chuanshu Huang, Professor:  Signal transduction in tumor promotion and prevention; molecular mechanism of carcinogenesis caused by UV radiation, metals, and smoking.

Catherine B. Klein, Assistant Professor:  Mammalian mutagenesis; epigenetic gene control; DNA methylation; oxidants; metals; estrogens; molecular cytogenetics.

Joan Reibman, Associate Professor:  Asthma; epithelial and dendritic cell interactions; air pollution and airway disease.

Moon-shong Tang, Professor:  Carcinogenesis and mutagenesis; DNA damage; DNA repair.

Kam Meng Tchou-Wong, Associate Professor:  Lung cancer, biomarkers, lung injury and therapeutics.

George Thurston, Professor:  Head of the Exposure Assessment and Health Effects Program. Environmental epidemiology; human exposure assessment.

Isaac Wirgin, Associate Professor:  Molecular biology of carcinogenesis; cancer in aquatic organisms; population genetics and molecular evolution.

Judith T. Zelikoff, Professor:  Immunotoxicology; pulmonary immunotoxicology, developmental immunotoxicology, and immune biomarkers in alternative animal models.



Program Director

Terry Gordon, Ph.D.

845-731- 3536


Deputy Director

Isaac Wirgin, Ph.D.

845-731- 3548