Environmental Health Science

Our research addresses the population-level effects of environmental factors and the link between environmental exposure and health.

About

Cluster Coordinator

Rob Smart (Biological Sciences)

Cluster Colleges

College of Sciences

Our goal is to further the Center for Human Health and the Environment’s (CHHE) work to understand and prevent the adverse impacts of environmental factors on human health. Cluster hires are expected to develop and maintain an extramurally funded research program and to participate in collaborative, research and training initiatives that includes NC State biologists, toxicologists, geneticists, bioinformaticists, statisticians, epidemiologists, chemists and engineers. Faculty will also bring new population-level and epigenomic expertise to CHHE. Our vision is for CHHE to serve as the epicenter of environmental health science research at NC State.

Cluster Website

Impact

The etiology of most chronic human diseases involves complex interactions among environmental factors and an individual’s genetic and epigenetic makeup. There is a deficit in our understanding of how these interactions contribute to adverse health outcomes. Understanding environmental influences on disease and adverse health outcomes will allow for modification of the environment, subsequent reduction or prevention of disease and significant improvements in human health and well-being.

History

In 2007, NC State University faculty across several colleges initiated a grassroots effort to gather and strengthen the university’s environmental health research base. These efforts culminated in the formation of the Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE), which builds on strengths in environmental health research across 11 departments in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Sciences and Engineering. CHHE brings together 40 investigators from across campus as well as researchers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, East Carolina University and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). These strengths, coupled with NC State’s geographic location adjacent to Research Triangle Park — whose tenants include the NIEHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — make CHHE a world-class, high-impact environmental health science initiative. NC State’s environmental health science background includes two NIEHS T32 graduate student and postdoctoral scholar training grants, two NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist awardees and numerous environmental health research grants from the NIEHS, the EPA and the National Institutes of Health.