Welcome to the Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center!
Supporting basic and clinical research on the modulation of disease processes by environmental and occupational agents
Established in 1975, the Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) is an NIEHS "Centers of Excellence". Our mission is to improve public health through the creation of knowledge and discovery of mechanisms by which environmental exposures, singly or in combination, contribute to health risk across the lifespan, and to translate discoveries into strategies to mitigate risks and improve human health.
The central theme that guides and integrates our Center is understanding that cumulative exposures and interactions of environmental factors affect health and disease across the lifespan.
Center Research is guided by the following interrelated concepts:
- Many diseases and disorders cannot be explained by genetics alone. Environmental factors contribute to disease development and progression, and also hold the key to discovering ways to prevent and cure disease.
- Environmental exposures include chemicals, microorganisms, psychological and physical stressors, as well as nutritional and dietary factors, which act in conjunction with age, sex, and the presence of other disease states. This forms the basis of cumulative risk.
- Environmental exposures vary by geographical location, urban or rural environment, lifestyle, and occupation. These can enhance or mitigate the impact of an environmental exposure, and appreciating that both are possible is centrally important to improving health.
- Environmental exposures do not occur singly but as a mixture of multiple risk and protective factors, with potential interactive effects. Understanding human health and disease, and formulating better intervention and prevention strategies requires new thinking and systematic approaches that encompasses consideration of mixtures of factors, vulnerable populations.
- Success requires inter-disciplinary collaboration among diverse teams of basic, clinical and translational scientists coupled with a multi-directional and iterative approach that includes experimental models and human populations.
The EHSC provides the framework to generate novel research findings and convert these into critical information, resources, and tools used by scientists, public health officials, medical professionals, and the community to prevent disease and improve public health. The broad-based scientific diversity of our center members ideally positions us to utilize effective, integrative and innovative strategies to address critical questions in environmental health sciences.
We hope you find that as you visit our website you learn more about center research, community engagement activities, cores and facilities, and our collaborative team of members.
B. Paige Lawrence, PhD
Wright Family Research Professor
Chair, Department of Environmental Medicine
Former Student Claire McCarthy's COPD Research Featured on NPR
Early one morning in the spring of 2017, former Toxicology graduate student Claire McCarthy (Sime Lab) started her day as many don't: rolling dried rhinoceros dung into cigarettes and packing them into a machine that smoked them.
Although it might seem bizarre, McCarthy's purpose was serious: She wanted to know what happens when people breathe in dung smoke.
Dung smoke is no joke. Animal dung is used by millions globally for heating and cooking.
It's a dangerous practice. Burning biomass fuels (including animal dung as well as wood, charcoal, and plant matter) generates indoor air pollution, which caused 4 million deaths worldwide in 2012 according to the World Health Organization. Like cigarette smoke, biomass smoke has been linked to increased risk of lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), lung cancer and respiratory infection.
Read More: Former Tox Student Claire McCarthy, PhD Featured on NPR