November 2, 2015 | rcsmart

Dr. Gary W. Miller, Asa Griggs Candler Professor in the Department of
Environmental Health and Associate Dean for Research in the Rollins
School of Public Health at Emory University was the speaker for the
2015 Burroughs Wellcome Distinguished Lecture on October 29th in David
Clark Labs. Dr. Miller’s presentation, “The Exposome: An Opportunity
for Toxicology,”  was part of the Applied Ecology, Biological
Sciences, Southeast Climate Science Center, and Global Environmental
Change Cluster seminar series.

As the Director of the Emory Health and Exposome Research Center:
Understanding Lifetime Exposures (HERCULES Center), Dr. Miller shared
not only his own laboratory’s work at the interface of neuroscience
and toxicology focusing on Parkinson’s disease mechanisms, but the
broader concept of the exposome. His talk explored the opportunity for
environmental exposure science to receive the same focus and intensity
that the genomics sciences have experienced in the last 20 years.
While genomic sciences have exploded with scientific findings
elucidating the gene side of the nature vs. nurture equation: gene x
environment=phenotype, the science and funding elaborating the
environment side of the equation have lagged behind. To result in a
more complete and balanced understanding of the phenotype, Dr. Miller
proposed that the exposome could represent a biological index of
“nurture.” In their 2014 Toxicological Sciences paper, Miller and
Jones define exposome as the cumulative measure of environmental
influences and associated biological responses throughout the
lifespan, including exposures from environment, diet, behavior, and
endogenous processes.

Dr. Miller also serves as Director of Emory’s NIEHS-funded T32
Training Grant in Environmental Health Sciences and Toxicology.  He is
a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and has
received the Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology.  He
currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Toxicological Sciences, the
official journal of the Society of Toxicology. The Emory University
HERCULES Center, http://emoryhercules.com/, is an NIEHS-funded P30 center
focused on the exposome.

During the introduction to the seminar, Dr. Greg Cope, Chair of the
2015 Burroughs Wellcome Distinguished Lecture Committee, acknowledged
Dr. Ernest Hodgson, NCSU William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor
Emeritus, for his long and distinguished career in toxicology at NCSU
and for initiating the Burroughs Wellcome Endowment Fund while a
department head. The announcement of the establishment of the Ernest
Hodgson Agromedicine and Toxicology Lecture Program Endowment at NCSU
made the occasion especially momentous. Those wishing to donate to
this fund may learn more at:
http://harvest.cals.ncsu.edu/advancement/index.cfm?pageID=2367.

Following Dr. Miller’s seminar, attendees representing
faculty,graduate students, and staff in Applied Ecology, Biological
Sciences, Southeast Climate Science Center, Global Environmental
Change Cluster, and NC State University’s Center for Human Health and
the Environment, http://chhe.research.ncsu.edu/, an NIEHS-funded
Environmental Health Sciences Core Center, enjoyed a reception.

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