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Environmental Factor, April 2015

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NIEHS and UNC Greensboro foster environmental health research

By Joe Balintfy

UNC Greensboro logo
Ericka Reid

"As a UNCG alum, I'm honored to share what we're doing here, and how we can better connect with faculty and students,” said Reid. “It’s a huge part of what we're about here at NIEHS." (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

A group of faculty and staff from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) visited NIEHS March 10 as part of an exchange that will foster environmental health research at the university. The visitors learned about the institute, its opportunities, and the review process for environmental health research grants. NIEHS staff will reciprocate April 7, traveling to UNCG to talk with students about environmental health, NIEHS research, and paid internships.

John Schelp, NIEHS special assistant for community engagement and outreach, gave an overview and campus tour, and Ericka Reid, Ph.D., director of the Office of Science Education and Diversity led a discussion on year-round and summer internships.

“I'm very glad to know that our outreach is making an impact,” said Reid. “We're reaching out to more colleges and universities, here in this region and further afield, and they are interested in what we have to offer.”

The first of two meetings

Much like last year’s visit by University of Massachusetts faculty (see story), this meeting gave the UNCG guests practical information on working with NIEHS and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“I think a good collaboration and partnership will come from this,” said Patrick Madsen, Ph.D., director of the career center at UNCG. “It’s definitely going to help UNCG faculty connect to the grant and research potential that NIH and NIEHS have to offer.”

Perspective from extramural experts

One attraction for the visiting UNCG faculty was the grants workshop, which staff from the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) condensed from a 17-hour workshop into about an hour.

“I gave a broad overview of the NIH and NIEHS extramural worlds,” said DERT Deputy Director Pat Mastin, Ph.D. “Some of these faculty may be eligible for grants, so I talked about the kinds of grants available and about the process.”

Caroline Dilworth, Ph.D., Barbara Gittleman, and Mike Humble, Ph.D., all from DERT, shared more details. For example, Gittleman, a grants management specialist, explained the Academic Research Enhancement Award grant, which is designed for smaller institutions, like UNCG.

Norman Chiu, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at UNCG, is actively seeking NIH support and found the meeting very helpful. “It’s given me a much better picture on how to prepare a better NIH proposal,” he said.

(Joe Balintfy is a public affairs specialist in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)

UNCG staff visiting NIEHS

Standing, from left, Chiu; Mastin; Madsen; Qibin Zhang, Ph.D. (UNCG); Zhenquan Jia, Ph.D. (UNCG); Aubrey Roland Turner (UNCG); Gittleman; and Dilworth. Sitting, from left, Schelp and Humble. Turner, a grant proposal development specialist at UNCG, was an NIEHS summer intern 20 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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