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Your Environment. Your Health.


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Principal Investigator: Benki-Nugent, Sarah F.
Institute Receiving Award University Of Washington
Location Seattle, WA
Grant Number R01ES032153
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 Sep 2020 to 31 May 2025
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): ABSTRACT It is increasingly clear that ambient and household sources of combustion derived air pollutants threaten healthy neurodevelopment based on research conducted in high income settings. Advances describe the neurotoxic potential of traffic-derived emissions, components such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and physical characteristics such as ultrafine particulate (UFP) in experimental models, mechanistic studies, and observational epidemiological studies of ADHD, autism, and cognitive performance. However, in low resourced settings such as sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where exposure magnitudes are among the highest worldwide, data and capacity are lacking. We seek to extend a highly productive 30 plus year University of Washington – University of Nairobi maternal child health research partnership to incorporate capacity building and research focused on air pollution and child neurodevelopment in urban Kenya. We leverage a unique pre conception cohort and apply both biomarkers (urinary PAH metabolites) and mobile monitoring approaches to understand air pollution exposure across the early life continuum (pregnancy/infancy) as well as describe the impact of sources from ambient and household origin. Follow up to age 3 years will determine the relationship between early life air pollution exposure and child motor, cognitive, self-regulation, and executive function skills. The design and engagement reflects 2 pilot projects awarded in the past year which yielded practical experience and extensive discussions with environmental scientists and maternal child health experts in Nairobi. The project fills current gaps in child neurodevelopmental assessments as well as exposure science and laboratory methods to promote maternal child environmental health research in SSA. The project will advance lab capacity for neurotoxic biomarkers at two key institutions, will establish innovative methods for ambient air pollution measurement, will develop a unique pre conception cohort with a biospecimen archive and detailed neurodevelopmental outcome data – each foundational components of long-term, well-executed studies of air pollution exposure and brain development across the lifespan. Our overarching goal is to establish a sustained research to practice program that connects high quality, regionally relevant research to program and policy to reduce modifiable environmental risks to healthy child neurodevelopment.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 61 - Neurodevelopmental
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications See publications associated with this Grant.
Program Officer Kimberly Gray
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