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Description: The program's objective is to enhance research, communication, and education in children's environmental health through direct support of activities by students, postdoctoral trainees, junior faculty, and community members. Proposals related to children's environmental lung health will be considered in the following areas:
We consider the environment to be broadly defined and can include chemical exposures, greenspace, the built environment, the food environment, physical activity, or aspects of the social environment. Projects that address household environmental exposures for all occupants (regardless of age) or community environmental health concerns across the life course are encouraged. Projects with strong engagement with community partners will receive priority for funding. Funds from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will support each project for the budget period from December 15, 2022, through November 30, 2023.
Eligibility: Applicants may be predoctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows, or junior faculty who meet the NIH definition of early-stage investigators. Community member applicants will be considered for Community-Engaged Communication Pilot Projects. Applications must be received by Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at 12 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). Prior to the release of funding, investigators must demonstrate approval of the research project by their institutional review board or animal care and use committee, as appropriate.
Use of Funds: Budgets will be allocated in the name of the junior faculty member or faculty advisor (for student awards) and are to be used exclusively for the described research. This support may be used for research expenses for which there are no other means of support, including supplies, domestic travel related to data collection or presentation, services such as data entry or laboratory analysis, and printing or photocopying. These funds may not be used for student tuition, stipend, or faculty salary except with prior approval. Awardees will be required to provide brief progress reports every six months, a final written report within 30 days of the end of the budget period, and to present their findings at a multidisciplinary BREATHE Children's Environmental Health Forum.
Evaluation of Applications: A committee including professionals and academics working in the area of children's environmental health will evaluate applications based on whether the proposal addresses a scientifically important problem; addresses children's environmental health; is of scientifically sound design and novelty of the work and potential to advance a new line of inquiry. The likelihood of the proposal to lead to further research, increase research and translation capacity among new investigators and trainees, and the inclusion of community stakeholders, as well as attention to diversity and outreach, will be considered as strengths. In conformance with federal regulations, any exclusion of portions of populations (e.g., based on gender or race) as potential research subjects must be specifically justified.
Please use 12-point font and margins no smaller than 1/2 inch for all materials. Applications must include the following elements:
Reporting Requirements: Award recipients will be required to provide both an interim (6 months after the start date) and a final report of their project or study (within 13 months of the start date). A final financial report may also be requested. Applicants must agree to credit the BREATHE Center for any products and publications that result from the awards (e.g., “this project was supported through a grant from the Johns Hopkins BREATHE Center”).
Application Deadline: All applications will be submitted electronically via REDCap. Please direct all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com prior to the Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 12:00 PM EST deadline. Applications after the deadline will not be reviewed.
Important Note: The application form is not submitted until you press the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page. You do have the option to save the application and return to it later. You MUST remember the return code given to you; if you lose it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. To retrieve your saved (but not submitted) form, click "Apply Now," hover over "Returning?" in the top right corner, click "Continue the survey," enter your return code, and hit Submit button.
All applicants will be notified by December 15, 2022. Applicants will be notified by email of decisions.
Applications should include an itemization of costs, with a full description and detailed justification of each item.
This would be rare, and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The Scientific Review Committee will follow NIH's scoring system. Each application will be rated according to the 9-point scale. The Scientific Review Committee will rank the applications in overall order of preference for funding when reviewers will meet to discuss the applications. The discussions, ratings, and rankings of candidates will be summarized for the members of the Pilot Project Council, who will make the decision based on translating research importance to the project’s mission.
Each application will be reviewed by a committee of experienced investigators with relevant expertise to evaluate the proposal. To avoid potential conflict of interest, members of the Scientific
Review Committee who have contributed pilot proposals, or participate therein, will be excluded from the review process for this proposal cycle.
Standardized evaluation criteria will include whether the proposal addresses a scientifically important problem; addresses children’s environmental health; is of scientifically sound design. The review will also address whether the expertise of mentors is adequate, resources and facilities are adequate, research is ethically acceptable, and the budget is appropriate.
Reviewers will be asked to provide feedback to the applicant on the major strengths and weaknesses of the proposal. As well as use the NIH scoring rubric: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/review/rev_prep/scoring.htm
Yes. Awardees will be required to provide a brief progress report, a final written report within 30 days of the end of the budget period, and two presentations of project updates/findings during the BREATHE Children’s Environmental Health Forum sessions during the period of the award.
Prior to the release of funding, investigators must demonstrate approval of the research project by their institutional review board or animal care and use committee, as appropriate.
Title: Development of a Biomarker of Early Toxicity from Electronic Cigarette Metal Exposure
Abstract: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are currently the most used tobacco product among youth (<18 years old) with 2.06 million reporting use.1 Health effects concerning e-cig use are expected to be from chronic long-term exposure2; however, current knowledge on long-term e-cig health effects is limited.
Metals such as lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), and nickel (Ni) can be found in e-cig aerosols and blood samples collected from users in concentrations that correlate with the frequency of use. Exposure to Pb, Ni, and Cr has been associated with immune dysfunction and respiratory illnesses. Based on this knowledge, we hypothesize that inhaled metals in e-cig aerosols are transported across the lung epithelial barrier and are taken up differentially by cells in the blood.
Analyzing metal accumulation in single cells is a powerful tool for early disease detection. For example, accumulation of Cu in hepatocytes has been shown as an early indicator of Wilsons’s disease, indicating that single-cell analysis can detect early changes before a biomarker of clinical disease.10 Based on this we also hypothesize that single-cell analysis of metals in peripheral blood monocular cells (PBMCs) can serve as biomarkers of early immune dysfunction.
Title: The Lung Health Ambassador Program (LHAP): A Health Equity Initiative for Cystic Fibrosis
Abstract: The Lung Health Ambassador Program (LHAP) is a program that will focus on improving the science literacy of school-aged youth and promote the young to engage in an understanding of healthcare-related fields and the importance of equity within medicine. Specifically, this program will utilize hands-on teachings on pulmonary-related studies such as understanding basic lung anatomy physiology, negative effects of toxic lung inhalations (i.e. tobacco, electronic cigarette usage, and marijuana), and health disparities in lung conditions such as asthma.
In regards to lung diseases, there will be a strong emphasis on cystic fibrosis since studies have shown that minorities are also very suspectable to this genetic disease and it has been challenging to manage in these populations due to disparities and implicit biases. The program will be designed on a curriculum that will be four 1-hour sessions over the course of an academic school year with elementary and middle school students. We will target four high schools in Baltimore City Maryland. Our program will fuel the interest and excitement for careers in healthcare. Additionally, and more importantly, we hope to help provide knowledge and critical thinking skills to explore the basic sciences of the respiratory system and students to understand health disparities and the necessity for exploring various factors within health equity.
Title: A pilot study to determine the utility of silicone wristbands to assess novel chemical exposures in pediatric asthma studies
Abstract: Phthalates and newer highly understudied phthalate replacements are high production volume plasticizers widely used in consumer products. Their pervasive use has led to widespread exposure in children and racial/ethnic exposure disparities are reported. Many of these chemicals are also hormone disruptors and animal data show they may increase allergic immune response, contribute to airway remodeling, and induce asthma. Altogether this data supports investigating the role that these chemicals may play on excess asthma morbidity among pediatric populations suffering a disparate asthma burden and experiencing elevated exposures. There is also a need to identify non-invasive novel personal exposure samplers to reliably assess environmental exposures of concern in large pediatric studies. This pilot study seeks to leverage the robust infrastructure in two ongoing racially/ethnically diverse studies to execute the following aims: (1) to characterize exposure to plasticizers (phthalates and newer replacements) in 40 children and assess the suitability of silicone wristbands as a novel, non-invasive exposure matrix for plasticizers in pediatric environmental health studies as compared to respective gold standard biomarkers in children’s urine, and (2) to examine associations between exposure to plasticizers as measured in wristbands and urinary biomarkers and pediatric asthma morbidity measures. The data generated from this pilot study will be among the first exposure data for Latinx and Black children with asthma and allow for preliminary examination of the potential role of these exposures in asthma disparities.
The BREATHE Children Center is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health under award number P2CES033415.