Globally more than one quarter of all deaths and disease can be attributed to the environment. A research team led by Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, along with partners from across Texas A&M and the Texas Medical Center (TMC) in Houston, is intent on altering that staggering statistic. Together, they have created an unprecedented, cross-institutional initiative known as the Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR). Recently named by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the newest National Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Science, the center will serve as the cornerstone for integrated environmental health research, translation of research advances into practice and community outreach and engagement aimed at improving human health.
One of only 21 centers of excellence in the country, CTEHR, which includes collaborators from across The Texas A&M University System, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston, is poised to lead the state and nation in better understanding the effects of the environment on human health. In short, center members are focused on translating research advances in environmental causes of disease to improve detection, prevention and management of diseases induced or worsened by environmental exposures.
Dr. Nicolaas E. Deutz, Director of the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity, along with Dr. Timothy Lightfoot, Director of the Sydney and J.L. Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine, Department of Health & Kinesiology, will lend their research findings and expertise as part of the center’s cross-institutional team.
“The research performed at the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity are unique for Texas A&M University and are the link between the basic research and community research in CTEHR. Our approach in determining changes in metabolic pathways in humans will increase our understanding of the effects of environmental influences on metabolism. In collaboration with the new center, we will help translate basic environmental research from the bench to the bedside,” said Deutz.
“It is a welcomed challenge to extend my scientific focus of considering how biology regulates physical activity to contemplating and testing how environmental aspects directly affect these mechanisms. This work and the experiments coming from these studies are a direct result of the collaboration encouraged and facilitated by the CTEHR and demonstrate what can be accomplished when efforts are focused by such a center,” added Lightfoot.
The learn how the center plans to address issues related to environmental health, find the complete story in HSC’s Vital Record.