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Clinical Research

For Patients

Join a Health Study or Clinical Trial

The NIEHS supports and conducts studies to determine how exposure to chemicals or other agents in the environment may influence a variety of diseases. Please see Join a Health Study or Clinical Trial for more information.

Clinical Research Facilities

The Clinical Research Program works with patients in two facilities:

Additionally, the Office of Human Research Compliance ( provides ethical and regulatory oversight of research that involves human subjects.

For Investigators: About the Clinical Research Program

The Clinical Research Program encompasses the following branches and research groups:

Many human diseases result from environmental exposures that can affect individuals who are genetically susceptible to the development of a disease. The NIEHS has an active research program that investigates the mechanisms of such diseases. The mission of the Clinical Research Program is to enhance NIEHS-led research by:

  • Translating basic laboratory findings to humans
  • Studying interactions between genetic susceptibility (host factors) and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of complex human traits and diseases
  • Identifying populations at risk and developing novel preventative and therapeutic strategies to combat human diseases

The Clinical Research Program pursues this mission by:

  • Developing resources and systems for NIEHS investigators involved in the conduct of human investigation
  • Fostering growth in clinical research and building new areas of collaboration between basic and clinical scientists
  • Providing an effective interface between investigators, health care professionals, the clinical research unit and other clinical facilities in the Research Triangle Park area.
  • Developing and conducting clinical research educational programs for investigators, coordinators and administrators
  • Minimizing obstacles to translational research at NIEHS

The Clinical Research Program supports multiple NIEHS research groups that focus on a wide variety of environmental conditions including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, reproductive diseases, neurological disorders, cancer and many others. The ultimate goal of the CRP is to combat environmentally-induced human disease in three substantive ways:

  • Developing better diagnostic tools to identify high risk populations for environmentally induced diseases
  • Developing novel therapeutic strategies
  • Developing novel preventative strategies

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Research Programs in Clinical Research

Environmental Asthma & COPD Group

The Environmental Asthma & COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Group, headed by William Martin II, M.D., focuses on the environmental and genetic causes of these two conditions with consideration to developing novel therapies for alleviating their symptoms.

Doctor checking a person's heart

Environmental Autoimmunity Group

The mission of the Environmental Autoimmunity Group is to understand the mechanisms for the development of autoimmune diseases so that group members can extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. It is led by Frederick W. Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

Environmental Innate Immunity Group

Michael Fessler, M.D., is the principal investigator for the Environmental Innate Immunity Group. The group has two major research goals: 1) to study the role of endogenous regulators of cholesterol/membrane trafficking in initiation and regulation of TLR signaling and 2) to examine the regulatory influence of innate immunity in host cholesterol metabolism.

Gene Environment Interactions Group

The Gene Environment Interactions Group conducts diverse clinical research studies aimed at understanding the complex interaction between genes and the environment in polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, asthma, autoimmune, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and neural tube defects and others. Perry J. Blackshear, M.D., D.Phil., heads the group.

Oxidative Stress Mechanisms & Clinical Effects Group

Clinical Research logo

The Oxidative Stress Mechanisms & Clinical Effects Group utilizes genetic/genomic, molecular/cellular, and population-based experimental approaches to understand the mechanisms through which oxidative stress contributes to the pathogenesis of disease. The group is directed by Steven Kleeberger, Ph.D.

Reproductive Medicine Group

The Reproductive Medicine Group, lead by Carmen J. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., examines the molecular basis of early reproductive events including gamete maturation and function, fertilization, and implantation.

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Last Reviewed: December 16, 2008