New Langone Environmental Hazard Center Incorporates Multidisciplinary Approach

Staff with expertise in anything from genetics to music composition are working on a new center opened by NYU Langone Health.

The outside of NYU Langone Medical Center, located on First Avenue. (Photo by Tony Wu)

Last week, NYU Langone Health announced the launch of its Center for the Investigation of Environmental Hazards, which will focus on studying the health effects of a variety of environmental and social factors.

Director of the Division of Environmental Pediatrics at Langone Dr. Leonardo Trasande is a prominent leader in children’s environmental health and will be the director of the Center for the Investigation of Environmental Hazards.

Trasande said that the center’s launch comes after a year-long planning period across nearly every school at NYU, from Tandon School of Business to Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

The collaborative effort appears in the center’s incorporation of investigators and professors from an array of disciplines. Experts in genetics, pediatrics, music composition and technology and more will work to measure the effects of food, air and water pollution as well as those of prescription medications on long-term health.

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“The center will be comprised of scientists, doctors and staff from across the university bringing a team science approach to environment and health,” Trasande wrote in an email to WSN. “While bringing researchers to the table who had previously not considered environment in their work.”

The center is part of an innovative multidisciplinary effort to advance the current understanding of how childhood exposure can impact brain development, obesity, cancer and reproductive health later in life.

Chair of Langone’s Department of Pediatrics Dr. Catherine Manno said the center is dedicated to both bettering the environment itself and assessing how problems with the environment can impact the health of the community.

“Having sat in on a couple of the planning meetings, I was very impressed with the work researchers are doing,” Manno said. “It’s a potential for better understanding and remedies to environmental problems.”

Although students aren’t currently involved with the center, Trasande said the center’s inaugural symposium, scheduled to take place from May 1718, will bring NYU students and faculty together to discuss how environmental factors affect brain development.

The center’s aim follows the example of Trasande’s previous work on the relationship between environmental influences and childhood obesity. Dafna Bar-Sagi, Senior Vice President and Vice Dean for science and Chief Scientific Officer at NYU Langone said that the center also builds on NYU Langone’s long-standing focus on reducing environmental hazards.

“[The creation of the center] reflects and reinforces the institution’s commitment to placing human health at the center of all our basic science and translational research efforts,” Bar-Sagi said in a press release.

Email Helen Wajda at [email protected].

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