Pilot Research Projects

The Harvard NIEHS Center offers Pilot Grants to support new and innovative research in environmental health. We call for proposals twice each year and the top projects are selected for funding. Below is a list of recently funded pilot projects.


Round 1

David Christiani et al, Genome-wide microRNAs expression profiles and birth weight in umbilical cord serum among women and infants exposed prenatally to inorganic arsenic. ($22,500) Abstract

John Godlleski and Alex Carll, Does Inhalation of Traffic-Related Particulates Impair Cardiac Performance? ($22,500) Abstract

Mi-Sun Lee et al, Cardiac Autonomic Effects of Secondhand Exposure to Electronic Cigarettes (ECigarettes). ($20,000) Abstract

Alex Lu et al, The interplay of sub-lethal neonicotinoids exposure, mitochondrial epigenetics, and Parkinson’s disease. ($22,500) Abstract

Ronit Machtinger et al, BPA and Phthalate exposure, FF exosomes, and IVF outcome. ($15,000) Abstract

Marc Weisskopf et al, Assessment of a novel portable x-ray fluorescence device to measure bone lead. ($17,500) Abstract


Round 1

Andrea Baccarelli: Flame retardants, plasma exosomal miRNAs in early pregnancy, and risk of gestational diabetes

Christopher Hug: Does environmental arsenic exposure induce a novel form of cystic fibrosis?

Peggy Lai: Endotoxin, the airway transcriptome, and asthma

Young-Ah Seo: Manganese-induced neuronal cell apoptosis through ER stress

Vishal Vaidya: Quantitative High-Throughput Screening Platform for Predictive Kidney Toxicology

Round 2

Konstantinos Makris: Exposures to Thyroid-Disrupting Chemicals and Thyroid Nodular Disease: The Case of Bisphenol A

Stephanie Shore: Impact of obesity and ozone on lung microbiota in mice

Akira Tsuda: Rapid nanoparticle translocation across the neonatal alveolar air-blood barrier

Yongyue Wei: Maternal Metal Exposure, Cord Blood Metabolomics Biomarker, and Birth Outcome


Round 1

Jonghan Kim: Influence of FPN and HFE on clearance of manganese

Alex Lu: Metabolomic Profiling for Dietary Pesticide Exposure in Children

Quan Lu: Discovery of coding and non-coding RNA transcripts central to lead (Pb) neurotoxicity through Next-Gen deep sequencing

Joel Schwartz: Particles, Metals, and changes in 5-OH-mC: a Pathway to Disease?

Joanne Sordillo: Development of a Molecular Method to Assess the Fungal Microbiome in Environmental Air and Dust Samples from Observational and Controlled Human Exposure Studies

Round 2

Nancy Krieger: Air pollution, racial discrimination, and blood pressure: an exploratory study

Francine Laden: Metabolomics to Identify Novel Biomarkers of Exposure to Traffic Exhaust

Jessica LaRocca: Elucidating the effects of prenatal exposure to multiple endocrine disrupting chemicals on microRNA and mRNA expression in the human placenta

Maitreyi Mazumdar: Neural Tube Defects and Environmental Arsenic Exposure

Stephanie Shore: Metabolic profiling of obese and ozone exposed lungs


Round 1

Andrea Baccarelli: Metal Exposure and DNA Retrotransposon Activation

Catherine Racowsky: Evaluating the Impact of Exposure of Bisphenol A on Human Oocyte Quality

Elsie Sunderland: Predicting Cholera Outbreaks Using Global Climate Data

Marc Weisskopf: An Economic Approach to Linking Adoption and Use of Improved Cookstoves to Reduced indoor Air Pollution and its Effect on Cognitive Function

Round 2

James Shine: Source-Receptor Assessment of Mercury Exposure in Humans through Mercury Stable Isotope Analysis

Rihong Zhai: Associations of Helicobacter pylori infection with atrophic gastritis and adipokines in relation to esophageal adenocarcinoma

Enhua Zhou: Development of a novel functional wound healing assay to assess the impact of engineered nanoparticles


Round 1

Diane Gold: Cardiopulmonary Responses to Effective Particle Filtration with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure in Patients with Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Susan Korrick: Conception with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), prenatal phthalate and bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and infant neurodevelopment

Paula Tejera-Alvarez: A Functional Study of Polymorphisms in the PI3 Gene, an inhibitor of Neutrophil Elastase in Inflammatory Lung Diseases

Zhaoxi (Mike) Wang: Application of Satellite Aerosol Remote Sensing Technology to Estimate the Health Impacts of Airborne Particles

Round 2

Glen Deloid: Novel screening assay for NLRP3 inflammasome activation by engineered nanoparticles

John Godleski: Exposure to Traffic Particles and DNA Methylation

Eileen McNeely: Flight attendant exposures to flame retardants in airplanes

Murray Mittleman: Atrial fibrillation, ambient exposures and epigenetic mechanisms


Round 1

Jamie Hart: Exploratory Analyses of Oxidative Stress Responses to Vehicle Exhaust in a Population of Trucking Industry Workers

Lester Kobzik: In Utero Environment & Epigenetic Programming of Airway Biology

Alex Lu: New The Development of Adduct-base Biomarker for Pesticide Exposure and Health Effect

Amar Mehta: Genetic Predictors of Bronchial Reactivity in Adult Chinese Females

Robert O Wright: The Developmental Neurotoxicity of Air Pollution

Rosiland J Wright: Advancing Methodology for Assessing Infant Autonomic Reactivity in Developmental Environmental Health Research

Round 2

Michael S Bank: Contaminant Exposure Assessment of a Cement Factory Based Community in Ravena, New York

Heather Burris: Preterm Birth, Epigenetics and Environmental Metal Exposure

Philip Demokritou: Systems and Methods for the Physico-Chemical & Toxicological Characterization of Engineered Nanostructured Materials

Susan Duty: Determination of sources of bisphenol A exposure among infants in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Arnab Maity: Statistical Methods for Analysis of High-Dimensional Epigenetic and Environmental

Emily Oken: Understanding fish consumption habits during pregnancy

Monica Ter Minassian: Genetic variability in tobacco-specific nitrosamine NNK to NNAL metabolism


Round 1

Adrienne S Ettinger: Maternal Arsenic Exposure as a Risk Factor for Gestational Diabetes

Robert Herrick: Investigation of PCB Exposures and Biomarkers from PCB-Contaminated Buildings

Molly L Kile: Environmental Arsenic Exposure and DNA Methylation

Marc G Weisskopf: New Biomarkers of Neurotoxicity

Gregory Wellenius: Rat Ischemia Pilot Project

Jennifer Weuve: Environmental determinants of cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease: a study to establish the feasibility and validity of telephone cognitive testing

Round 2

Shona Fang: A Toxicogenomic Approach to the Discovery of Early Response Biomarkers Associated with Exposure to Particulate Matter and Metals among Welders

Maitreyi Mazumdar: Prenatal and early childhood lead exposure and amyloidogenesis

Karin Michels: The role of bisphenol A in plastic bottle use

Hui Pan: Environmental Oxidant Stress and Influenza: Genome-wide shRNA screen for susceptibility genes in lung epithelial cells

Melissa Perry: Endocrine Disruptors and Sperm Aneuploidy in Faroese Men

Richard Verrier:  Intratracheal insufflation of archived samples of concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) from inhalation exposure experiments to elucidate autonomic, hemodynamic, and cardiac electrophysiologic mechanisms in canines