The Community Engagement Core is pleased to announce the Science Café line up! Visit the webpage for more details and sign up links.
Environmental Health Sciences Research Center
University of Iowa College of Public Health
The Community Engagement Core is pleased to announce the Science Café line up! Visit the webpage for more details and sign up links.
The EHSRC Community Engagement Core is hosting two Science Cafes in September. Both events are focused on the issue of Climate Change and feature members of the EHSRC, Dr. Jerald Schnoor and Dr. Peter Thorne. See below for more info and to register! If you would like to request accessibility accommodations please email Jacqueline-Curnick@uiowa.edu
“Climate Change and the Looming COP26 Glasgow Meeting”
Dr. Jerald Schnoor
Wednesday, September 15th, 5-6 PM
On the lawn of the First St. Community Center
Mt. Vernon, IA
“Climageddon: Dire Predictions from the IPCC”
Dr. Peter Thorne
Tuesday, September 21st, 7-8 PM
Data Management in the Environmental Health Sciences Seminar Series
September 10, 2021 / 10:45 a.m. / View presentation slides
Ontologies 101: Standardize your data using ontologies
Nicole Vasilevsky, PhD, Research Assistant Professor and Lead Biocurator, The Translational and Integrative Science Center
Ontologies are powerful tools that are used for classifying information, organizing data, and creating connections between data that allow for enhanced information retrieval, filtering, and analysis. This talk will introduce the basic concepts of ontologies, with a focus on biomedical ontologies, and provide some examples of how ontologies are used in everyday life and disease diagnostics and discuss how you can contribute to ontologies and participate in the biomedical ontology community.
September 17, 2021 / 10:45 a.m. / View presentation slides
Using ontologies and knowledge graphs to link multi-modal data across scales and disciplines
Anne Thessen, PhD Semantic Engineer, The Translational and Integrative Science Center
Biology is a very heterogeneous discipline that has benefitted from the reductionist empirical approaches that have spawned thousands of subdisciplines, from neurobiology to landscape ecology, each with its own data types and research cultures. While we have learned much by isolating and experimenting on individual components of natural systems, there is much to be gained from looking at systems more holistically, which requires data integration at an unprecedented scale. In addition, these holistic approaches require expertise and data from outside biology, such as geology, computer science, and economics to name a few. This talk will present methodologies for integrating multi-modal data across disciplines to enable large-scale, holistic studies of natural systems and discuss the team science aspects of this work in the context of the GenoPhenoEnvo and Biomedical Data Translator project.
September 24, 2021 / 10:45 a.m.
Title US-EPA Chemicals Dashboard – An integrated data hub for environmental science
Antony Williams, PhD, Scientist at Center of Computational Toxicology and Exposure at US Environmental Protection Agency
Abstract: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Computational Toxicology Program utilizes computational and data-driven approaches that integrate chemistry, exposure and biological data to help characterize potential risks from chemical exposure. The National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) has measured, assembled and delivered an enormous quantity and diversity of data for the environmental sciences, including high-throughput in vitro screening data, in vivo and functional use data, exposure models and chemical databases with associated properties. The CompTox Chemicals Dashboard website provides access to data associated with ~900,000 chemical substances. New data are added on an ongoing basis, including the registration of new and emerging chemicals, data extracted from the literature, chemicals studied in our labs, and data of interest to specific research projects at the EPA. Hazard and exposure data have been assembled from a large number of public databases and as a result the dashboard surfaces hundreds of thousands of data points. Other data includes experimental and predicted physicochemical property data, in vitro bioassay data and millions of chemical identifiers (names and CAS Registry Numbers) to facilitate searching. Other integrated modules include real-time physicochemical and toxicity endpoint prediction and an integrated search to PubMed. This presentation will provide an overview of the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard and how it has developed into an integrated data hub for environmental data. This abstract does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
October 1, 2021 / 10:45 a.m.
Improving alternative method adoption through tools and resources to support community knowledge
Shannon Bell, PhD, Principal Data Scientist at Integrated Laboratory Systems, Inc. (ILS), Apex, North Carolina
Over the past decade, efforts ranging from publications to workshops to science policy have been directed at moving from traditional, animal-based toxicity testing towards new approach methodologies (NAMs) that do not require animals. Key barriers hindering adoption of NAMs are knowledge gaps, both in terms of technical information deficiencies as well as lack of confidence in the methodologies. Information, comprised of data and the context within which it is used, is constantly evolving, and is typically a focal point when considering knowledge gaps. Efforts using standardized terminologies and improving data FAIRness (data should be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) aid in addressing information challenges. Improving acceptance of information and methods/tools generating the data are equally important and increasing access to resources that promote approachability and transparency can support confidence building in end-users. This can be done by creating user-friendly tools that provide an access point for diverse users to explore data and techniques. These user-friendly resources build comfort and context that aids in bridging the communication gap between naive users often “traditionally” trained in in vivo approaches and subject matter experts in the NAMs. This presentation will highlight the DNTP’s Integrated Chemical Environment and other freely available web resources to illustrate ways in which knowledge gaps for NAM adoption are being addressed. Three common questions will be addressed as part of an overarching user story: How do I identify and obtain data for my compound? How can I put this data into a relevant context? How do I interpret and apply the data? Structure similarity, read-across, and in vitro to in vivo extrapolation will be discussed as a series of user-stories highlighting efforts of web-based tools to promote NAM adoption by closing knowledge gaps.
October 8, 2021 / 10:45 a.m.
Building a Better Tox Test: Reproducibility and Sampling Error in
Lyle Burgoon, PhD, Director, Center for Existential Threat Analysis and Leader, Bioinformatics and Computational Toxicology, Michigan State University
Most current computational toxicology predictive models require toxicology data from laboratory experiments. Although not always apparent, the predictions from these computational models can have significant ramifications. For instance, a combatant commander in the Army may require soldiers to put on MOPS gear (suits that protect soldiers from chemical exposures) during a battle based on toxicity predictions that use current environmental levels from sensors as inputs. The problem is that MOPS gear is difficult to move and fight in, thus making our soldiers easier targets. It also means that taxpayer money may be wasted on needless and unnecessary remediation of training grounds. I have noticed that the reproducibility of toxicology data that go into our computational models tend to suffer from being underpowered, exhibiting excessive sampling error, and lack the details required for reproducibility. In many cases, chemicals are being found toxic based only on p-values, which the American Statistical Association considers a very poor practice. In this talk, I will discuss and demonstrate the problems with sampling error and reproducibility that I am seeing both as a regulatory toxicologist and a military scientist. I will discuss how we can do better as a toxicology community, to improve our science, and the reproducibility of our studies. And I will demonstrate why these steps are necessary for ensuring the quality of our future computational toxicology models, and for safeguarding human health. There are real-world consequences when we fail to practice science well, and together, we can make a difference.
Each year in Iowa, the American Lung Association and the Iowa Department of Public Health, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7 and the Iowa Radon Coalition host the annual statewide Iowa Radon Poster and Video Contests.
Iowa citizens ages 9-14 are invited to create a radon poster that will increase public awareness of radon gas and encourage others to test their homes. A committee will select the top five winning posters from throughout the entire state of Iowa to receive monetary prizes. The school that submits the most entries wins $200.
Concurrently, high school students are invited to submit entries to the Iowa Radon Video Contest, for which three top prizes are awarded. As a member of the Iowa Radon Coalition, EHSRC Coordinator Nancy Wyland has participated in judging this event for the past three years in representation of the Center.
“The submissions are quite creative, and the students work hard on their entries,” Ms. Wyland offered. It’s a great event that engages young adults in environmental awareness and the dangers of radon, which is particularly prevalent in Iowa.”
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas produced by the natural decay of uranium in the soil. Exposure to elevated radon levels increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the number one cause of death in homes, surpassing falls, poisoning, fires, choking, and drowning. As all Iowa counties are considered at high risk, this contest provides an opportunity to educate Iowa youth and the general public. By participating in this activity, students learn about radon and how to reduce their risk of exposure.
Wyland added, “Our Center has a longstanding research interest in radon and its environmental health impacts, so we’re proud to participate in this educational activity through our membership in the Iowa Radon Coalition.”
Poster Contest Winners can be viewed here: https://www.lung.org/local-content/ia/radon-poster
The Top Ten Video Contest Winners can be viewed here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsIpNVMVEwiiT0UM6ax1cHFBVWkAD65G2
The EHSRC has a longstanding history of radon research, including studies of residential radon in Iowa, research on outdoor concentrations, and testing of monitoring devices. Recently, EHSRC Member Bill Field and Co-PI Ka Kahe (Columbia University Health Sciences) received an NIH R01 titled, “Residential radon exposure and stroke risk: the REGARDS study.” This project will examine the association between radon exposure and stroke risk and to investigate whether geographic variation of radon concentration is related to the distribution of stroke rate in the U.S.
The College of Public Health’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture will take place on December 2, 2020, from 12:30-1:30 P.M. This year’s lecture will be given by EHSRC member, Dr. Fred Gerr, and will provide an overview of historical and current occupational injury and illnesses among meat packing plant workers.
Dr. Gerr has served as a professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health for the last 18 years. He has been the director of both the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health and the Occupational Medicine Residency Training Program in CPH for many years. He has taught Occupational Health Practice, Occupational Medicine, and Interpreting Occupational Health Research. His research focuses on occupational and environmental risk factors for neurological impairment and musculoskeletal disorders. He has made significant contributions in the specialty of occupational and environmental medicine.
2020 CPH Distinguished Faculty Lecture | December 2 at 12:30 P.M.
Join via Zoom (https://uiowa.zoom.us/j/93121351181)
Fridays at 10:45 am View info here
Research Translation Mini Seminar Series view poster here
All meetings are from 1-2 pm in CPHB room S302.
October 17, 2019
January 9, 2020
February 20, 2020
April 2, 2020
May 15, 2020
June 25, 2020
August 6, 2020
Fall 2019 dates are:
September 12- 5 pm in Mt. Vernon
September 17- 7 pm in Fairfield
October 17- 5 pm in Mt. Vernon
October 22- 7 pm in Fairfield
November 14- 5 pm in Mt. Vernon
November 19- 7 pm in Fairfield
On June 19-21, 2019, the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) hosted the annual meeting of the 23 national NIEHS Core Centers funded to conduct research, training and community engagement in the environmental health sciences. The meeting is traditionally hosted at one of the Center sites, and this year, the University of Iowa’s EHSRC was selected.
On the evening of June 19, a small delegation of meeting participants from NIEHS and UI toured three local farms – Morning Glory Farms, Broulik Farms and Mallie Farms – to discuss current farming practices in the Midwest. Following, a community forum which attracted approximately 110 people was held in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where a series of speakers talked about water quality concerns in the state.
Over the course of the next two days, approximately 200 participants joined the full meetings in the College of Public Health Building, with a social event at Hancher Auditorium on the evening of June 20.
The conference agenda included sessions for the Community Engagement Cores, the Center Administrators, and the scientific community. Keynote presentations were delivered on the first day by Dr. Jerald Schnoor, UI Department of Engineering on A new paradigm for supplying safe drinking water, and Dr. Detlef Knappe from North Carolina State University on Drinking water contaminants in the Cape Fear watershed.
Concurrent breakout sessions were held on a variety of topics including Disaster Research Response, Emerging Issues with Pesticides, and Reporting Back Research Results, among others. Poster sessions featured the research of early stage investigators, and New EHSCC Research was highlighted in a series of lightning presentations on Day 2. In addition, three presentations and a panel discussion were held on Emerging issues with electronic nicotine delivery systems (E-cigarettes).
NIEHS Director, Dr. Linda Birnbaum delivered a stimulating presentation on perfluoralkyl substances, an emerging class of water pollutants, entitled PFAS: Emerging but Not New.
(Article by Nancy Wyland)
For more information on the program and speakers view the meeting booklet here: EHSCC 2019 Annual Meeting Program Booklet
The Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) hosted more than 40 journalists, researchers, and students on March 5, 2019, to discuss challenges and opportunities in the field of science communication and environmental reporting. The summit, held at Drake Community Library in Grinnell, Iowa, aimed to increase journalists’ interest in reporting about environmental issues, as well as to help researchers better communicate effectively to general audiences.
Part of the mission of the EHSRC Community Engagement Core is to improve environmental health literacy. Bringing together journalists with environmental health researchers is one way to increase the public access to science. For this event, the EHSRC collaborated with IowaWatch, the UI School of Journalism and Communications, the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC), and the Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College.
Speakers included journalists Amy Mayer from Iowa Public Radio and Lyle Muller from IowaWatch along with University of Iowa faculty and researchers from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, and Public Health. Chris Martin from the Department of Communication Studies and Digital Journalism at the University of Northern Iowa and his daughter, a student journalist from the award-winning Cedar Falls High School newspaper, The Tiger Hi-Line, gave a presentation about engaging high school student journalists in environmental reporting.
Journalists from media outlets across the state participated, including the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, The Des Moines Register, Estherville News, the Iowa City Press-Citizen, and Iowa Public Radio. A diverse group of students were in attendance as well with representation from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Grinnell College, and Muscatine Community College.
The event included panel discussions about science in the media and nitrates in water, hands-on activities about environmental storytelling, and a brainstorming session to generate environmental topics for future reporting. Darrin Thompson, a PhD candidate in occupational and environmental health, discussed his research on neonicotinoids, and Peter Thorne, professor and head of occupational and environmental health and director of the EHSRC, gave a presentation about his experiences as chair of the EPA Science Advisory Board. Participants also engaged in a group literature discussion to comment on real stories that have been published recently in Iowa.
This story is also published on the College of Public Health Website
You can view 5 of the sessions from the Environmental Journalism Summit. View them here
On September 21-22, 2017, a statewide symposium was held at Drake University in Des Moines to examine various impediments to providing safe drinking water in the Midwest. The symposium was co-sponsored by several University of Iowa centers, including the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC), Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC), Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), and the UI Public Policy Center. Partnering organizations included the University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, The Iowa Public Health Association, Iowa League of Cities, the Iowa Association of Water Agencies, the Iowa Environmental Council and the Central Iowa Drinking Water Commission.
Over the course of a day and a half, 13 speakers delivered presentations and participated in panel discussion on subjects such as the Health Impacts of Nitrate in Drinking Water, New Technologies and Approaches for Mitigating Unregulated Contaminants in Drinking Water, Health Impacts from Drinking Water Treatment, New and Emerging Threats, Ordering our Priorities, and Communicating with the Public on Drinking Water Issues.
Approximately 150 people attended the symposium, including water regulators, researchers, state legislators, students, educators, and environmental and public health representatives from across Iowa.
Speakers represented several universities, both in Iowa and nationwide, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the press, and various water and environmental organizations and agencies.