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Whcohh: Harmful Algal Bloom Dynamics And Epigenetic Mechanism Of Toxin Action


<p>This award will provide NSF support for the establishment of the Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health (WHCOHH) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with a strong and integrated set of research projects that will employ novel remote sampling technologies to achieve new insights into the population dynamics of known and emerging HAB threats, and to address critical mechanisms of toxin action, linking developmental exposures to adult consequences. The studies are expected to lead to substantive improvements in our ability to predict harmful algal bloom events, and the effects of toxins. The ultimate mission of the Center is to improve the public health through enhanced understanding of how oceanic and environmental processes affect the production, distribution and persistence of toxin-producing organisms, and the risks from exposure to their potent neurotoxins. The Center will act as a focal point for research on issues at the intersection of oceanographic, biological and environmental health sciences in Woods Hole. The Center will comprise three integrated and interdependent Research Projects and an Administrative Core. Factors affecting the distribution, survival, proliferation and toxicity of HAB species still are poorly known, despite their enormous consequences for human health. Moreover, it is becoming clear that multiple HAB species can co-occur, raising issues of combined exposures compounding the threats to human health. The Center research team will focus on two key species, Alexandrium fundyense, which produces saxitoxins responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), and Pseudo-nitzschia spp., which produce domoic acid that is responsible for the amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) syndrome. Studies on the mechanisms of toxin action will be accompanied by and compared with those of important anthropogenic toxicants common in the marine environment. Thus, this Center will establish a newly cohesive approach to address and advance the understanding of how coastal ecology and physical processes may influence human health risks from harmful algae. Broader Impacts: Center staff will engage local and state Departments of Public Health in discussions regarding the Center?s activities. Additionally, they will engage the Cape Cod Health Care system, and will seek to provide lectures to local physician groups regarding not only the findings, but also the overall science, including the sources of chemicals (toxins and toxicants) and the molecular toxicology that will be part of the Center's activities. PIs and trainees will disseminate results via standard peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national and international scientific meetings. Center research will involve the training of several undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in research methods and approaches, and we will provide career development of new faculty. To assist student and other?s oral presentations and maximize effective communication with the scientific community, the Center will offer presentation training as part of the normal course of activities, as part the Administration Core activities. Communication with the public will include such things as contribution of articles related to Center projects to the WHOI magazine Oceanus, which publishes articles directed at lay audiences. JOINT FUNDING BY NSF AND NIEHS: The original proposal on which this project is based (P01 ES021923-01) was submitted to the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH/NIEHS) in response to Funding Opportunity Announcement RFA-ES-11-012 , 'Centers for Oceans Human Health (P01)', an opportunity jointly sponsored by NSF. This project is cooperatively funded through separate awards from NSF and NIEHS.</p>

Stegeman, John J; Hahn, Mark; Anderson, Donald M; McGillicuddy, Dennis
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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