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. 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
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
Exposure Assessment and Human Health
The Exposure Assessment and Human Health training track focuses on the scientific basis for the anticipation, identification, evaluation, and control of and health effects from human exposures to environmental pollutants. Most research projects are epidemiology-based and aimed at identification of those factors that play significant roles in the causation and/or exacerbation of disease associated with inhalation exposure to air contaminants in both occupational and general community settings. Trainees can be involved in inter-disciplinary studies that range from the design of strategies for the evaluation and measurement of exposure and the development of new methods for measuring the air concentrations of toxic agents, to experiments and theoretical modeling to evaluate the dose that people receive when they inhale airborne toxicants, to field studies (e.g., NYC subways) and epidemiological analyses of exposure response relationships in natural populations (e.g., the AARP senior population). Thus, this track is at the intersection of human health and toxicology and provides translational research opportunities across a wide range of environmental considerations, including air pollution, cardiac effects, diet, genetics, and alternative tobacco products.
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.
- 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
- 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
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 2015/16 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.
The candidate must be a US citizen or have a Green Card.
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.
Joan Reibman, Associate Professor: Asthma; epithelial and dendritic cell interactions; air pollution and airway disease.
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.
Terry Gordon, Ph.D.
Isaac Wirgin, Ph.D.