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Programs & Initiatives

Office of the Director

The Office of the Director provides additional oversight and coordination in the following areas:

Implementation of the NTP Vision and Roadmap

The OD is engaged in a long-term effort by the NTP to assist in achieving the NTP Vision & Roadmap of future activities, particularly contributing to the development of new tools for high-throughput screening and new animal models of genetic susceptibility.

Education and Biomedical Research Development

This office is a focal point of the NIEHS for establishing goals and developing programs to assure minority participation and success in NIEHS research and training programs. Included in these activities are K-12 environmental health sciences education programs, minority health research and training programs, environmental health research and training programs at minority institutions, and research and training programs that address low-income and underserved populations. Dr. Marian Johnson-Thompson and others lead this multi-faceted effort.

Exposure Biology Program of the NIH Genes, Environment and Health Initiative (GEI)

The NIEHS leads the Exposure Biology Program, one of the two main components of the trans-NIH GEI. The Exposure Biology Program focuses on development of innovative technologies to measure environmental exposures such as toxins and toxicants, diet, physical activity, psychosocial stress, and addictive substances that contribute to the development of disease.

Exposure Biology Program and the National Children's Study

The NIEHS leads the Exposure Biology Program as it relates to the National Children’s Study ( Exit NIEHS. The National Children's Study is designed to examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the United States, following them from before birth until age 21. The Exposure Biology Program focuses on the development of innovative technologies to measure environmental exposures (broadly defined) that contribute to the development of disease.

NIH Roadmap 1.5 Epigenomics Program

The goals of the NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program are to: develop standardized platforms, procedures, and reagents for epigenomics research; conduct demonstration projects to evaluate how epigenomes change and relate to human health and disease; develop new technologies for single cell epigenomic analysis and in vivo imaging of epigenetic activity; and create a public data resource to accelerate the application of epigenomics approaches. Dr. Wilson is a co-chair of the program.

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Trans-NIH Toxicity Testing Agreement

To test toxic chemicals using cells and isolated molecular targets instead of laboratory animals, this new collaboration leverages the experimental toxicology expertise of the National Toxicology Program, headquartered at the NIEHS; the high-throughput technology of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, managed by the National Human Genome Research Institute; and the capabilities of the EPA's National Center for Computational Toxicology. This effort is made possible through a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the organizations.

Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine

The NIEHS was instrumental in the establishment of the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, and continues to sponsor the panel. The Roundtable was established to provide a mechanism for parties interested in environmental health from the academic, industrial, and federal research perspectives to meet and discuss sensitive and difficult issues of mutual interest in a neutral setting. The purpose is to foster dialogue and discussion among sectors and institutions, and to illuminate issues. Among the landmark publications in the Roundtable’s history is the seminal 2001 report, Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment: A New Vision of Environmental Health for the 21st Century.

NAS/NRC Standing Committee on Identifying and Quantifying Environmental Health Risks

The NIEHS supports a Standing Committee on Identifying and Quantifying Environmental Health Risks within the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council. The goal of this committee is to provide a public forum for communication among government, industry, non- governmental groups, the academic community, and the public about scientific advances that can be used in the identification, quantification, and management of the impacts of environmental agents on human health.

NanoHealth Enterprise Initiative in Public-Private Partnerships

The NIEHS is engaged in efforts to establish the NIH NanoHealth Enterprise. This broad-based public-private partnership initiative is designed to investigate the fundamental physico-chemical interactions of engineered nanomaterials in biological systems, and the use of nanotechnology research as a tool for exploring cellular and molecular structure function relationships. The initiative fosters an integrated, interdisciplinary program that draws upon the expertise and interests of the NIH institutes and centers, along with other public and private partners to address critical research needs for the safe development of nanoscale materials and devices. Dr. Sally Tinkle leads this effort.

Please see the NanoHealth and Safety page to learn more.

Climate Change & Energy Project

The understanding of the links between climate change and adverse human health outcomes is increasing, but many gaps in knowledge remain. One key gap is how the development and deployment of new energy sources to mitigate climate change will impact human health. The goals of the NIEHS Climate Change and Energy Project are to:

  • Provide information on human health research related to climate change and to the use of a range of energy sources
  • Raise awareness and create new partnerships to advance key areas of health research and knowledge development
  • Serve as an authoritative source of information on climate change, energy and health, and to assist scientists, health professionals and others who wish to engage in this arena

Please see the Climate Change & Energy Project to learn more.

Global Environmental Health

As a public health institute of the National Institutes of Health ( Exit NIEHS, the NIEHS has a commitment to the goals of protecting and improving global health. With a strong history of international cooperation on environmental health problems and a research vision aimed at solving the puzzles of environmentally induced human disease, the NIEHS is uniquely poised at the forefront of Global Environmental Health ( (GEH). Global Environmental Health at NIEHS encompasses global research, international fellows training, outreach and capacity building, and service to the scientific community.

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Last Reviewed: December 19, 2008