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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

November 2016

Fifty years of NIEHS captured in history and science collections

Mementos and artifacts collected throughout this golden anniversary year are now available on the 50th Anniversary web pages.

Throughout this golden anniversary year, NIEHS staff have searched, collected, sorted, identified, and cataloged hundreds of mementos and artifacts to record and preserve the institute’s history. The NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) has assembled them into multimedia collections now available on the NIEHS 50th Anniversary web pages.

Photographs, an interactive timeline of scientific milestones, oral histories, and testimonial reflections on the institute’s impact have been restored, digitized, and organized for easy viewing. “The anniversary provided the perfect incentive to assemble all these things that otherwise might have been lost to time,” said OCPL Director Christine Bruske Flowers.

“It’s really fascinating to go through these collections and witness the progress of science, technology and public awareness over the past 50 years,” she added. “They’re a good reminder of the dedication and spirit that’s motivated NIEHS since its beginning.”

Other keepsakes that could not be digitized for the on-line collections will be stored in a time capsule at the NIEHS facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.


The NIEHS Reflections page has news clips, oral histories, and early issues of the institute’s newsletter Environmental Factor (see image, right), and a personal tribute to NIEHS written by environmental toxicologist Bernard Goldstein, M.D., professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Audio files of oral histories from scientists and institute leaders are also posted on the page.

Kristine Witt Reflection

Listen to an interview with Kristine Witt, head of the NTP Genetic Toxicology Group. The course of her career traces development of the field of genetic toxicology. (1:24:24)
Transcript (135KB)


You can use this tool to explore 50 years of institute history and scientific progress, including the following.

  • Highlights of environmental health science research, such as discovery of the link between asbestos and mesothelioma.
  • New programs, including the autism research network.
  • Institutional developments, from creation of the National Toxicology Program to information on institute directors.

Photographic history

The NIEHS communications team has collected photos from retirees, current employees, archives, and long-forgotten boxes and file folders. Samplings of these photos have been shared each week with NIEHS staff and retirees in Throwback Thursday emails and hallway displays.

Most are now available to the public on the Photo Gallery page of the anniversary website, including the image above. Posed or informal, artistic or candid, the snapshots provide glimpses of institute researchers, facilities, and team building activities across the years.

Calendar of events

Anniversary events from January to December 2016 are listed in the Calendar of Events, searchable by month. The calendar features event recaps with photos, summaries, and links to descriptive Environmental Factor stories.

The upcoming Environmental Health Sciences Fest(https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/conference/ehs_fest/index.cfm) takes place Dec. 5-8 in downtown Durham, North Carolina. It is a unique and free opportunity to learn about the full range of research funded by NIEHS grants. More than 700 scientists from across the nation are already registered to attend the presentations, poster sessions, film festival, and other happenings. Registration is required and may be completed online.

Committee members

Not to be overlooked is the extensive list of employees, retirees, and contractors who have worked for more than a year to plan and carry out anniversary events and ensure the gathered materials remain available for years to come.

The committee members and advisors deserve thanks for all they have achieved.

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