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Bethany Winans Receives Young Investigator Award

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bethany Winans, a graduate student in the Lawrence lab received an American Association of Immunologists Young Investigator Award at the New York Immunology Conference in Bolton Landing, NY.

Congrats Bethany!

Paige Lawrence Receives New R01 Grant from NIEHS

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dr. Paige Lawrence, professor in the departments of Environmental Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology has received a new R01 grant from the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), entitled Transgenerational exposures as modifiers of host defense against infection.

Along with UR Collaborators Steve Gill, Ph.D. and Sally Thurston, Ph.D., this project will explore exposure to pollutants can cause transgenerational changes in biological processes and contribute to disease. Since very little of this research has focused on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of changes in immune function, the proposed research will direct address this deficit, and will study how a family of common pollutants perturbs the development and function of the immune system across generations.

The objective of this project is to define key parameters involved in transgenerational inheritance of alterations in the function of the mammalian immune system that occur as a result of environmental exposure. The immune system is fundamentally important to public and individual health, and even slight modifications in its function can have a profoundly negative impact on health and disease. For instance, influenza virus infections pose significant global health threats, infecting over 1 billion people annually. Evidence points to prenatal and early life exposure to pollutants as overlooked contributors to poorer clinical outcomes following influenza and other respiratory infections.

Study: No Link Between Mercury Exposure and Autism-like Behaviors

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Since the mid-1980s, the Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) has studied potential health effects of methylmercury (MeHg) in Seychelles islanders. Most recently, SCDS director Dr. Edwin van Wijngaarden studied whether there might be a link between a mother’s MeHg level during labor and autism-like behaviors in her child. As reported in this news release, Dr. van Wijngaarden and his colleagues found no association between fetal exposure to MeHg and autism-like symptoms in children. Read more...Read More: Study: No Link Between Mercury Exposure and Autism-like Behaviors

Beijing Olympics Provides Rare Window into Air Pollution’s Effect on Health

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A team of researchers has taken advantage of the unique circumstances surrounding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China to examine the link between air pollution and health. The result of their study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows a direct correlation between pollution levels and specific physiological changes that increase risk for cardiovascular disease.

This study clearly shows that a large scale intervention to reduce air pollution can have an immediate positive effect on health, said David Q. Rich, Sc.D., M.P.H., first author of the study and an epidemiologist with the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Community and Preventive Medicine. As air quality improved during the games in Beijing, markers of key biological pathways associated with cardiovascular disease also improved, demonstrating that – even in healthy young Beijing residents – there are specific mechanistic links between air pollution and cardiovascular health.

Read More: Beijing Olympics Provides Rare Window into Air Pollution’s Effect on Health

Rochester Scientist Leads National Fight against Lead

Friday, January 13, 2012

When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needed a scientist to lead the panel charged with making recommendations regarding hazardous levels of lead in children, they turned to one of Rochester’s own.

Deborah Cory-Slechta, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine and an internationally recognized authority on the hazards of lead, was co-chair of the CDC panel that last week recommended slashing the level of lead that should be considered as the point for intervention by physicians and public health authorities.

Read More: Rochester Scientist Leads National Fight against Lead

Long-Term Health Effects of Environmental Factors Is Focus of New $1.75-Million Study

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How exposure to chemicals and other environmental factors from the earliest months of life – even before we are born – affect our long-term health is the subject of a new five-year study by a scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

B. Paige Lawrence, Ph.D., associate professor of Environmental Medicine and of Microbiology and Immunology, has been awarded $1.75 million by the National Institutes of Health to study how early exposure to factors in the environment affect our immune system.

Read More: Long-Term Health Effects of Environmental Factors Is Focus of New $1.75-Million Study

Pinpointing Air Pollution’s Effects on the Heart

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scientists are untangling how the tiniest pollution particles – which we take in with every breath we breathe – affect our health, making people more vulnerable to cardiovascular and respiratory problems. While scientists know that air pollution can aggravate heart problems, showing exactly how it does so has been challenging.

In a study published recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists showed that in people with diabetes, breathing ultrafine particles can activate platelets, cells in the blood that normally reduce bleeding from a wound, but can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Read More: Pinpointing Air Pollution’s Effects on the Heart

$8 Million Boosts Environmental Health Sciences Center

Friday, March 19, 2010

Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center who are exploring the health effects of environmental agents have received $8 million in new funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue their work for five more years.

The investigators who make up the Environmental Health Sciences Center study the effects on our bodies of a myriad of substances and compounds. There is no shortage of research topics. Mercury, lead, air pollutants, pesticides, plastics, copper, cigarette smoke, diesel fumes, and nanoparticles found in products like perfumes and sunscreens are some of the substances under scrutiny.

The latest funding means the center’s work protecting people from environmental threats will have been continuously funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for 40 years - from 1975, when the center was founded during President Ford’s administration, to 2015. It’s the longest-running research center funded by any NIH institute at the University.

Read More: $8 Million Boosts Environmental Health Sciences Center