Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (P30 ES019776)
The Emory Health and Exposome Research Center: Understanding Lifetime Exposures (HERCULES) was funded in May, 2013 for $4,500,000 over four years. It is a P30 Core Center Grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The environment, broadly defined, plays a major role in health and disease, but has been underrepresented in the research community. The exposome provides a potential vehicle to better incorporate the environmental component into the study of disease and health. Our long-term goal is for Emory and Georgia Tech to play a leading role in the discovery, evaluation, and application of the exposome. HERCULES will provide key infrastructure and expertise to develop and refine new tools and technologies. Key among these are the Integrated Health Sciences Facility Core and the Systems Biology Core which we can develop the needed tools to assess the exposome. The former will help generate exposure data, improve metabolomic approaches, and facilitate clinical studies, while the latter will help synthesize the data into comprehensive computational models.
Exposome: the measure of cumulative environmental influences and associated biological responses throughout the lifespan, including exposures from the environment, diet, behavior, and endogenous processes
HERCULES provides investigators at Emory and Georgia Tech with access to state of the art mass spectrometry for detection of a wide variety of chemicals, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and other persistent organic pollutants. HERCULES also provides access and expertise for high-resolution metabolomics, systems biology, computational biology, and bioinformatics.
Each year HERCULES awards pilot projects to investigators at Emory and Georgia Tech to pursue new and innovative ideas. The goal is for the investigators to generate sufficient preliminary data to compete for extramural funding to continue the research.
HERCULES is committed to learning the environmental health concerns of the greater Atlanta community, facilitating community-academic collaborations, and supporting the community in its capacity to address its environmental health concerns. A stakeholder advisory board meets on a regular basis to foster these discussions and interactions.