Executive Summary


The UTMB-CET exists as both a force to address today's disparate and compelling human concerns about environmental health problems and the intellectual framework that drives the research towards possible solutions. From its inception, the Center has been an integral component within a much larger UTMB program in the Environmental Health Sciences that include a toxicology training program and Centers of Excellence in environmental health and medicine, molecular medicine, structural biology, aging, cancer cell biology, and the Institute for Translational Sciences. Thus, the Center has become a staunch collaborator for university, community and government entities dedicated to environmental health science problems in Southeast Texas.

The Environmental Health Sciences Seminar Series

The CET sponsors an Environmental Health Sciences Seminar Series that includes both external and internal speakers.  The seminar calendar coincides with the Graduate School calendar and runs from September through May.  Seminars take place on Mondays at lunchtime (with lunch provided) and are open to all. Seminars attract a mixed audience of CET and non-Center members, with an average attendance of 40-50 persons, and are intended to stimulate the intellectual climate of the Center and enhance the scope and quality of individual center investigators’ research.  During the period 4/1/2012-3/31/2016, the CET seminar series held 75 seminars.  Of these, 48 were external speakers and 27 were internal.

Evidence of Success

A visit by Dr. Jeffery Wickliffe (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) in 2012 resulted in the joint publication of a commentary in the journal  Enveronmental Health Perspectives (Wickliffe et al., 2014, Environmental health perspectives 122, 6-9).

Dr. Cheryl Walker was invited to present a seminar in March 2014, which resulted in Dr. Walker (Director of the NIEHS P30 Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR) and the CET director (Dr. Elferink) initiating an inter-Center collaboration under the auspices of the Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence consortium, to drive disaster research response (DR2) intiatives.

In May 2014, Dr. Amanda Phillips-Savoy gave a seminar on community-based participatory research to the CET membership.  As a result of her visit and her expertise, the CET invited her to become a new External Advisory Board member who would provide valuable insight into CBPR activities and a clinical perspective to the translational research conducted by CET members.

In late 2014, Dr. Aubrey Miller from the NIEHS was invited to present a seminar on disaster health research as part of the DR2 initiative spearheaded by the NIEHS.  Dr. Miller continues to be an advisor to the CET’s DR2-related activities and has developed a close working relationship with Dr. Sharon Croisant (COEC director and the IHSFC’s Community-Based Research program director) to promote CET DR2 program activities.

From peptide library screens to pathological cell targeting 
Monday, May 22, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m 
Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor
Director, Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases 
Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Distinguished University Chair in Metabolic Disease Research
The University of Texas Health Science Center 
Houston, TX
Molecular Mechanisms of Coronary Flow Regulation by Adenosine 
Monday, May 15, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
S. Jamal Mustafa, Ph.D. 
Scientific Officer, Clinical and Translational Science Pilot Grants Program and Robert C. Byrd Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology and Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV

Environmental Factors: Drivers of Lung Fibrotic Disease? 
Monday, May 1, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Bill T. Ameredes, M.S., Ph.D.
Professor, Internal Medicine/Pharmacology &Toxicology/Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
UT Distinguished Teaching Professor & Class of ‘47 Memorial Endowed Professor for Excellence in Education
Director, Inhalation Toxicology Core (ITC) / NIH/NCATS KL2 Scholars Program / NIEHS Environmental Toxicology Training Program
William C. Levin Endowed Chair in Environmental Toxicology
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Mechanisms of IkB Kinase Activation Via Canonical and Non-Canonical NF-kB Signaling Pathways
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Gourisankar Ghosh, Ph.D. 
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry   
University of California San Diego  
San Diego, CA

Neurotoxic effects of pyrethroids on neuronal ion channels

Monday, April 17, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
Fernanda Laezza, MD, PhD 
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology   
The University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX 

Pathogenesis of Fungal Asthma and Sinusitis 
Monday, April 10, 2017  -  5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
David B. Corry, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Pathology & Immunology  
Chief, Section of Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology    
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

Epigenetic control of antiviral response in airway remodeling
Monday, April 3, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Jun Yang, Ph.D.
Instructor, Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Endocrinology
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Lipin-1 Signaling and Its Implications in the Alcoholic Steatohepatitis
Monday, March 20, 2017  - 5.521 Levin Hall   - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Min You, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences  
College of Pharmacy      
Northeast Ohio Medical University
Rootstown, OH 

The genetic and pathological effects of oxidation on progression of Huntington Disease
Monday, March 6, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cynthia T. McMurray, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist  
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory    
Berkeley, CA

Mitochondrial homeostasis in lung diseases
Monday, February 13, 2017 - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Bartosz Szczesny, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology  
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Staff Scientist
The Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston

Molecular Mechanisms of Aflatoxin-mediated Carcinogenesis - Implications for Human Hepatocellular Carcinogenesis
Monday, January 30, 2017  - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
R. Stephen Lloyd, Ph.D. 
Associate Director for Basic Research   
Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, Portland, OR     
Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland , OR

Chromium VI-Induced Female Reproductive Toxicity: Mechanisms & Intervention
Monday, January 9, 2017  - 5.521 Levin Hall   - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m
Sakhila K. Banu, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences  
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences      
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 

Stakeholder Engagement:  Strategies for Success in the Evolving NIH Funding Environment
Monday, December 19, 2016  - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Sharon Petronella Croisant, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health
The University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX 

Monday, September 12, 2016  - 5.521 Levin Hall - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
Mitzi Nagarkatti, Ph.D.
Carolina Distinguished Professor
Chair, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
University of South Carolina Medicine
Columbia, SC 


Advisory Boards & Councils

The CET receives oversight from several advisory boards.  These include the Executive Committee, the Internal Advisory Board, the External Advisory Board, and the Stakeholder Advisory Board.  The purpose of the CET Executive Committee is to align and coordinate the various resources of the CET to meet the needs of its members.  The Executive Committee is composed of CET leadership (director, deputy director, IHSFC director, COEC director, facility core directors, and the Collaborative Research Team coordinator), and sets the overall priorities for allocation of resources.  The Internal Advisory Board is charged with oversight of the longer-term objectives including annual membership evaluation and review of the pilot projects applications.  The External Advisory Board serves as an impartial expert body that advises the director regarding the future direction of the Center.  The Stakeholder Advisory Board is composed of Gulf Coast regional community group representatives, that works closely with the Community Outreach and Engagement Core to identify research priorities and disseminate Center findings.