2017-2018 PILOT PROJECT RECIPIENTS

The MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, through support from the NIH-NIEHS Center Grant P30-ES002109, has awarded two basic science and one translational pilot projects with a start date of August 1, 2017 from the May 2017 pilot project call released this year.

BASIC SCIENCE APPLICATIONS

Quantum Mechanical Contribution to Methyltransferase Inhibition

In order to address the critical goal of the NIEHS mission to identify and understand fundamental shared mechanisms of epigenetic changes underlying such a broad range of diseases, a more fundamental understanding of toxic metal influence on DNA MTase function is essential to facilitate development of preventative strategies.

  • Heather Kulik
  • Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Mechanisms to Zinc-Mediated Sensitivity to Cadmium Exposure

This proposal outlines pilot studies to define how insufficiency of the essential nutrient Zn(II) modulates the toxicity and uptake of the environmental toxin Cd(II).

  • Matthew Shoulders
  • Associate Professor, Chemistry

TRANSLATIONAL APPLICATIONS

Clinical Validation of Hybridization-based Epigenotyping

The proposed work would represent the first clinical validation study of a hybridization-based epigenotyping assay. The work described herein promotes and enables Goal 1 of NIEHS’ strategic plan, i.e., identifying and understanding the role of epigenetic changes in complex pathologies order to develop prevention and intervention strategies, and it aligns with CEHS’s prioritization of human application.

  • Hadley Sikes
  • Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

THERON RANDOLPH APPLICATIONS

Microbial Strategies to Counteract Health Risks of Modern Living

The proposed is to test in mouse models whether replacing beneficial microbes in early life may be used to stimulate healthy immune responses and prevent debilitating diseases. Funding of this pilot study and subsequent experimental results will better position us to compete for additional federal funding.

  • Susan Erdman
  • Principal Research Scientist, Division of Comparative Medicine