Researchers at Wayne State University — along with regional collaborators at Henry Ford Health System, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University — have received a $2.4 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to develop a cleaner, healthier environment in Detroit.
Specifically, the grant supports the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors or CURES, which will study how exposure to toxicants that are prevalent in the urban industrialized environment impact human health in Detroit and beyond.
“The focus of CURES is to study how diseases that compromise the quality of life in an industrialized urban environment such as Detroit occur as a consequence of dynamic interactions between an individual’s genetic and epigenetic make-up, nutritional status, and environmental stressors such as chronic low-level toxicant exposures as well as psychosocial and physical stressors,” says Dr. Melissa Runge-Morris, professor of oncology and director of WSU’s Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Runge-Morris, who will co-lead the project with Bengt Arnetz, deputy director of the institute, says they will explore the role of human exposures on immune disorders, metabolic disease, cancer, and mental health. She adds that the program places special emphasis on understanding how environmental factors can adversely affect the health of children and adults of low socio-economic status, older adults, first responders, and refugees.
“This initiative will focus on nurturing healthy communities in Detroit through environmental disease prevention and creating cleaner living and working environments, all of which are important building blocks to improving this great city,” says Stephen M. Lanier, vice president for research at Wayne State.