EPA awards $750,000 in research grants to Texas A&M University

DALLAS, TEXAS (November 17, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $750,000 research grants to go to Texas A&M University to develop and evaluate innovative methodologies and approaches to advance our understanding of the human health risks that are evolving from exposure to chemical mixtures in the environment.

“Protecting public health is an essential part of EPA’s mission,” said Chris Frey, deputy administrator of the EPO’s Office of Research and Development. “The research announced today will advance the science of evaluating mixtures of chemicals and their toxicity so we can better understand the impact on human health and ultimately better protect public health.”

“The work of these university researchers is critical to protecting public health and advancing science,” said regional administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “By understanding the nature of these chemicals, we can identify future health risks to the public. We thank Texas A&M University for their hard work on this matter and look forward to the results of the program.”

The aim of this study is to ensure the protection of human health by examining the toxicity of known and unknown components. The research team will use environmental samples collected during and after disasters where chemical redistribution has been documented. Analysis of these samples allows for a focus on the impact of individual chemicals on human health.

Chemicals in the environment are often present as mixtures in air, water, soil, food and commercial products. These chemical mixtures include PFAS, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), disinfection by-products (DBPs), and other well-characterized mixtures. There is a need to assess the toxicity of chemical mixtures to understand how their combined effects on our health and the environment differ from what we know about individual chemicals. Because of their lower cost and higher throughput, new approach methods (NAMs) and the use of alternative animal models have emerged as potential approaches to advance risk assessment of mixtures.

To meet these research needs, the institutions receiving these grants will conduct research focused on the development and improvement, evaluation and integration of predictive toxicological methods for evaluating environmental chemical mixtures.

Below are today’s grant recipients and their project titles:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia – High-throughput assessment of lung injury and inflammation of polyaromatic hydrocarbon mixtures
  • Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC – Development of an integrated framework for assessing the toxicity of real chemical mixtures
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana – Protein binding affinity as a driving force for studying the toxicity of PFAS mixtures
  • The Research Foundation of CUNY, New York, NY – Innovative Approach to Assess the Effect of Metal Mixtures from Infant Meconium Associated with Adverse Infant Outcomes by Identification of Methylation Loci in Mothers and Infants
  • University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY – Evaluation of the neurotoxicity of mixtures of PFAS and other neuroactive organic pollutants by integrated in silico, in vitro Cellular and in vivo models
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas – A tiered hybrid experimental-computational strategy for rapid risk assessment of complex environmental mixtures using novel analytical and toxicological methods
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., Athens, Georgia – Development of a Quantitative Adverse Effect Pathway Network to Assess the Neurological Toxicity of the PFAS Mixture in C. Elegans
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas – Assessment of the oral toxicity of PAH mixtures using an in vitro 3D cell culture bioreactor incorporating the in vivo environment of the intestinal tract
  • University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Mass. – New Approach Methodologies for Whole Animal New Approach Methodologies for Prediction of Developmental Effects of Air Pollutant Mixtures
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC – Wildfire Smoke Mixture Toxicity Testing
  • Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan – Assessing the underlying molecular mechanisms that promote adipogenic outcomes in complex mixtures

Find out more about the scholarship holders.

Learn more about EPO research grants.

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