The Center's research initiatives provide the framework for identifying, prioritizing and investigating emerging environmental health issues. Center research initiatives have proven to be an effective mechanism for building research capacity, fostering collaborative research, providing career development opportunities and determining needs for new technologies required to achieve the Center's goals and objectives. They provide a flexible and integrative mechanism for defining, coordinating, and advancing ongoing and new areas for Center research. Current research initiatives at the Center include:
1. New Approaches for Chemical and Biological Mechanistic-based Exposure Assessment for Pollutants
2. Environmental Epigenomics
3. Environmental Contributions to Obesity and Metabolic Dysfunction
4. Pathway Approaches to Linking Environment, Genetics and Health
5. Air Pollution, Neurodevelopment and Neurological Diseases
6. Global Environmental Health and Climate Change
7. Sunlight in Health and Disease
The initiatives guide Center cores, enrichment activities, Pilot Projects Program and Director's Fund priorities, CDP directions on emerging issues, and technologies in EHS. Successful initiatives have included interrelated efforts to (1) address environmental contributions to diseases and conditions, (2) develop innovative methods for exposure assessment, study design and biostatistics, and (3) integrate new biological understanding into etiologic and prevention research. A major goal of the initiatives has been to incubate new programs of EHS research by providing infrastructure and support to grow new research into mature programs supported by investigator-initiated grants, program projects and new centers.
The initiatives are by nature both flexible and dynamic as they are structured to support ongoing research projects as well as to be responsive to new discoveries, technologies, and emerging EHS issues. Center research initiatives are established through a process of recognition of an important research need or opportunity by Center members and cores, community input, discussion by the EC and implementation by the Administrative Core and Center Director. The existing initiatives are regularly reviewed to determine how the Center can contribute to advancing each initiative and whether an initiative has become a self-supporting program that no longer needs incubation support.