The University of Michigan has been awarded nearly $10 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study the impact of the environment on children's health, specifically on the causes preterm birth, obesity, asthma/allergies, autism, and early onset of puberty.
"Our own research and that of colleagues around the world have produced mounting evidence and concern that the environment may profoundly impact child health and development," says John Meeker, the director of the Michigan hub of the Children's Health Exposure Analysis Resource Program and a professor of environmental health sciences at the U-M School of Public Health.
Meeker says environmental factors like poverty, malnutrition, maternal smoking, drinking, and lead exposure have been known to adversely affect children's health, yet research on the effects is still in its infancy.
As part of the study, U-M researchers and five other research hubs will measure biomarkers to a range of environmental exposures, analyze measures of gene expression, and validate new biological response indicators.
Other hubs include Emory University, the University of Minnesota, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, RTI International, and the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health.