Center for Appalachian Research in Environmental Sciences: Integrated Health Sciences Facility Core

Grants and Contracts Details


PROJECT SUMMARY – Overall The University of Kentucky Center for Appalachian Research in Environmental Sciences (UK-CARES) builds on our early successes, capitalizes on lessons learned, and enhances our mission through a dual focus on better understanding exposure pathways and emerging environmental health threats and optimizing research translation. Our Mission is to focus on exposure pathways to better match with community concerns and to emphasize research translation. Our Values reflect strong, multidirectional community partnerships, with a renewed commitment to meaningful processes, procedures, and policies that respect and promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Responsible conduct of research is at the foundation of our Center, appreciating the essential value of rigorous and reproducible multidisciplinary team science. Our goals are to (a) advance multidisciplinary environmental health science (EHS); (b) analyze organic contaminants and trace-elements; (c) cultivate early-stage stage and established investigators; (d) learn with and from the community, helping to inform and translate our research; and (e) build science communication skills with investigators and community partners to boost research translation. We advance EHS across the translational spectrum around three highly integrated science themes informed by residents of rural Appalachia: 1) Health Impacts of Waterborne Contaminants (WATER); 2) Health Impacts of Indoor and Outdoor Airborne Contaminants (INDOOR AND OUTDOOR AIR); and 3) Emerging Environmental Health Threats (EMERGING THREATS). These themes are designed to promote collaborations between and among basic, applied, and clinical center investigators and to inspire the formation and success of community-academic partnerships. The central hypothesis is that exposure to established contaminants via environmental exposure pathways (e.g., water, air) and emerging environmental health threats, combined with lifestyle and other individual risk factors, contribute to the disproportionately high incidence of chronic diseases and health disparities in rural Appalachia. UK-CARES draws on a strong and diverse base of environmental health science and community-engaged research to build environmental health research capacity to meet the needs of communities in rural Appalachia. We will grow multidisciplinary leadership and integrated infrastructure to facilitate collaboration. We will efficiently use resources to expand research and develop new scientific directions. We will recruit new talent to the field, provide mentorship, and support investigators in developing community-academic research partnerships. We will encourage and provide mentoring with to our investigators so they can reach the translational milestones in research: (1) asking fundamental questions; (2) applying and synthesizing; (3) implementing and adjusting; (4) practice; and (5) impact. In short, UK-CARES will leverage its resources to enhance EHS at UK while also reducing health risks and disparities in rural Appalachia. An Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core, Analytical Core, and Community Engagement Core are integral to this effort and will catalyze multi-directional translation across the translational spectrum; provide advanced analytical support in analytical chemistry, trace-elements analysis, biospecimen management, and bioinformatics; and bridge Center and community priorities. Complementary activities in career development of scientists who are interested in tackling challenging environmental health questions and pilot project funding will support developing research and evolving scientific directions.
Effective start/end date6/3/234/30/28


  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


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