To support its groundbreaking work in the emergent field of “exposomics,” the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded two grants to research teams from Rensselaer and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In addition, the state of New York and Mount Sinai provided $3.2 million to these grants in matching funds through the state’s Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation program; these funds were critical in securing the grants.
“Exposomics” is the comprehensive study of environmental exposures in humans, from conception through development. The grants, totaling $20 million over four years, are from the NIH’s newly formed Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource program, or CHEAR.
The first grant—made possible by the Icahn School of Medicine’s partnership with Rensselaer—will be for a Data Repository, Analysis, and Science Center. The Data Center will address methodology for combining data from a wide range of environmental health studies, developing precise vocabularies for semantically accelerating the exposomics field, developing statistical approaches for analyzing exposomic/chemical mixtures, and performing big data science, integrating exposomics with genomics and epigenomics. The Rensselaer team’s principal investigator, Deborah McGuinness, Tetherless World Research Constellation Professor, and co-principal investigator Kristin Bennett, professor of mathematical sciences, will lead the ontology and data science research for the data center.
Almost all diseases have both environmental and genetic causes.
The overarching goal of CHEAR is to bring together environmental exposure measures with genomic measures of health risk.