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Release: Immediate

UI researchers receive pilot grants for environmental health projects

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center's (EHSRC) pilot project grant program recently awarded nearly $80,000 to UI investigators who will conduct a variety of new environmental health studies.

The center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, annually awards pilot project grants, with priority given to young investigators. These "start-up" funds have helped generate large research initiatives, produce important scientific manuscripts and recruit new investigators to the field of environmental health research.

"The pilot project grant program has been a vital element of the center since its inception in 1989 and is essential to its future success," says Dr. James Merchant, EHSRC director and UI professor of preventive and internal medicine.

Any UI faculty member with a research interest in environmental health consistent with the goals of the center is eligible to apply for pilot project grant support. In 1996, the EHSRC also initiated an International Pilot Grant Program, which earmarks funds for research projects with an international environmental health focus.

While individual awards are limited to $15,000, the dedicated research facilities of the EHSRC provide valuable support services to pilot grant recipients, thereby extending the capabilities and the amount of work that can be accomplished with these funds.

Following are the 1997 grant recipients, announced earlier in April:

* William A. Groves, assistant professor of preventive medicine and environmental health; "Field Analysis of Perchlororethylene in breath using a surface-acoustic-wave microsensor-based instrument;" $14,600.

* Gunnar Gudmundsson, fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine, and Gary Hunninghake, professor of internal medicine; "Genetic Determinants of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis;" $14,885.

* Joseph M. Reinhardt, adjunct assistant professor of radiology, Eric A. Hoffman, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering, and Stephen S. Raab, assistant professor of pathology; "Accurate Measurement of Intra-Thoracic Airways via X-Ray CT;" $15,000.

* Mark A. Young, assistant professor of chemistry, and Peter S. Thorne, associate professor of preventive medicine and environmental health; "Real-Time Chemical Analysis of Single Bioaerosol Particles;" $15,000.