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Mission

The mission of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) is to take a leadership role in facilitating and promoting research into the biological effects of exposure to environmental agents in order to understand and predict, how such exposures affect human health.  As shown in the adjacent figure, three fundamental components influence the health effects of environmental exposures: the nature of the exposure itself, the duration of that exposure, and how well the exposed organism is equipped to deal with the exposure, in other words, the organism’s genetic susceptibility.  These are the broad-brush strokes of what environmental health sciences research is all about.  As Director and Deputy Director of the CEHS, Professors Essigmann and Engelward believe that it is their role to identify and bring together appropriate MIT faculty members who are doing top-notch research that is relevant to the environmental health sciences.  To this end, the goals of the MIT CEHS are to achieve the following: one, to create an intellectual hub (and sub-hubs) that will foster multidisciplinary approaches to environmental health research questions; and two, to support centralized resources and facilities for groups of investigators that would be impractical, implausible or impossible for individual investigators to support and maintain.  We are currently expanding our overall mission to address Global Environmental Health issues.  Toward this end the MIT CEHS, along with the Johns Hopkins University Center in Urban Environmental Health, plans to launch a Global Alliance that will start with the Chulabhorn Research Institute in Thailand and the National University of Singapore and which will hopefully grow to include a number of developing countries, particularly in Asia.