The overarching goal of the CEHS Integrative Health Sciences Facilities Core (IHSFC) is to facilitate the translation of CEHS members'basic research findings into clinical or public health applications. In the context of a research Institution that is not affiliated with a Medical School or a School of Public Health, the MIT CEHS contributes to the diversity of the NIEHS Core Centers Program with major strengths in fundamental science and engineering applied to problems in EHS and toxicology. The past decade has seen an evolution in CEHS research activities toward translational research, based on the pioneering studies of aflatoxin-induced liver cancer conducted by Gerald Wogan and coworkers in the CEHS. This evolution is evident in the intentional expansion of Center membership to embrace the state-of-the-art molecular epidemiological studies of David Hunter and Jiali Han at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School, the emergence of human studies in the Molecular Biomarkers for Environmental Toxicants Program with Gerald Wogan, Steven Tannenbaum and others at Johns Hopkins University, and James Fox's studies of human cancer risk from environmental microbes in South America and Southeast Asia, just to mention a few. The CEHS leadership has now capitalized on this translational momentum with the creation of the CEHS IHSFC. It is important at the outset to define "translation" in the context of the MIT CEHS. The activities that constitute translational research in environmental health science fall along a continuum, such as that shown below and adapted from a diagram prepared by Dr. Samuel Wilson of the NIEHS. The NIEHS defines translational research as, "efforts along the spectrum of steps that transform scientific discoveries arising from laboratory, clinical, or population studies into clinical or population-based applications to reduce disease incidence, morbidity, and mortality." For the MIT CEHS, the steps in translation move research along the spectrum from molecules, pathways and networks, toward cells, tissues and organs, and ultimately moving all the way to whole organisms (mice or human) and to human populations. Each move to the right in the adjacent figure represents translational research. The historical experience of CEHS members reveals that the greatest hurdles to engaging in translational science are a lack of awareness of translational resources and the "activation energy" needed to engage in translational research.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
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Environmental Health Sciences Review Committee (EHS)
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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