Environmental Health Sciences Center
The Environmental Health Sciences Center was established in 1967 with funding by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). As an organizational unit under the Vice-Provost for Research and International Programs it provides resources for coordination and stimulation of interdisciplinary basic research and training related to effects of environmental factors on human health.
Environmental quality problems and their resultant effects continue to challenge people's health and their ability to understand and manage the evolving impact of environmental agents. Solutions to environmental problems require the interdisciplinary scientific efforts of professionals in many fields, both to generate new knowledge and to develop a qualified cadre of scientists who can provide an improved basis for risk assessment.
The EHS Center currently brings together and uses a variety of professional capabilities of research and teaching faculty, staff, and students from numerous OSU departments, schools, and colleges within OSU. Academic areas include agricultural chemistry, chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics, toxicology, molecular biology, food science and technology, fisheries and wildlife, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, zoology, and statistics. The center's visiting scientists program complements research expertise in these areas.
The broad mission of the EHS center encompasses coordinated ongoing research of its faculty and encourages research by the training and support of qualified graduate students, pre-doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral research associates. As one of 26 national research centers designated by NIEHS, the EHS Center at OSU enhances the collaborative scientific research of its Investigators with specialized core facilities. The Center serves as an interdisciplinary resource on human health as related to the environment; it periodically awards funding for pilot projects submitted by OSU faculty to encourage new approaches in environmental health research. Selected proposals receive funding for preliminary studies, many of which have led to agency funding as major projects. It sponsors conferences, symposia, seminars, and meetings for student training, faculty consultations, and public communication. The EHS Center, through the OSU Cooperative Extension Service and other existing mechanisms, has developed a Community Outreach and Education Program to communicate and heighten public awareness about environmental issues and the related recognition of risk to human health.
Examples of specific research areas include toxicology of environmental chemicals, cellular and biochemical toxicology, immunotoxicology, naturally occurring toxins, carcinogenesis of environmental chemicals, genetic toxicology, mass spectrometric ionization processes and methodologies, heteronuclear NMR studies, the chemical basis for solid waste and chemical waste disposal, and statistical studies, e.g., temporal aspects of cancer risks.
Federal environmental health legislation, particularly the Toxic Substances Control Act, has created a greater need for qualified toxicologists. To help meet this need, many EHS Center investigators serve as faculty within the OSU M.S./Ph.D. interdisciplinary graduate Toxicology Program as well as being faculty for the ongoing pre-doctoral and postdoctoral training program supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences administered by the center. The focus of the training and research in environmental toxicology emphasizes determination of the mode of action of environmental chemicals; the curricula encourage use of biochemical,
pathological, and pharmacological approaches to acquire a mastery in aquatic, biochemical, comparative, environmental, food, as well as general toxicology.