About CEHS

About CEHS

cehs logo

The UNC CEHS has a mission to reduce the burden of environmental disease through interdisciplinary research on mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and translational research on strategies of prevention, mitigation and cure. The Center encourages and facilitates collaboration among basic researchers, public health scientists and clinicians to generate high impact discoveries that improve public health. The Center is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

To support our mission and achieve our goals, we focus on the following specific aims:

  • To generate high-impact discoveries to reduce the burden of environmental disease by enhancing innovative interdisciplinary and translational research.
  • To coordinate the activities of Center members with the Administrative Core, the Facility Cores and the Community Outreach and Engagement Core.
  • To attract and encourage young and new investigators in environmental disease research by sponsoring a competitive Pilot Project grants program.
  • To provide professional and transparent administration of the activities of the Center concerning budgets, seminars and symposia, career development, publication and proposal tracking, and communication and annual reports.
  • To enhance discourse with a Stakeholder Advisory Board and other affected communities as well as generate and disseminate educational materials to enhance public health through a highly effective Community Outreach and Engagement Core.
  • To empower Center members to conduct innovative research that leads to high-impact discoveries by providing state-of-the-art expertise and high technology in three well-managed Facility Cores.

CEHS organizational structure

The Administrative Core is the organizing core of the Center, managing budgets, Pilot Project competitions, career development and progress reports while overseeing the Facility Cores. From this core the Directors of Interdisciplinary and Translational Research strive to connect the work of the Flexible Interdisciplinary Research Groups with the Facility Cores and the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC). The Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core, with connections to the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (the UNC CTSA), provides biospecimen processing, mammalian genotyping and geocoding for population studies. The Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Facility Core provides expertise in study design, data analysis, training and development of new methologies. The Molecular Analysis Facility Core provides mass spectrometry, DNA damage, translational pathology, and genomics research technologies. The COEC, with advice from the Stakeholder Advisory Board, communicates the latest discoveries with public health professionals, community health workers, susceptible populations, families and lifelong learners. With this structure, CEHS strives to generate high-impact discoveries to reduce environmental disease and improve public health.

cehs org chart

Administrative core


Dr. James Swenberg, CEHS director

The UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS) Administrative Core nurtures, integrates and coordinates research on environmental health and disease. The Core is designed to provide administrative and scientific leadership, financial and research resources, fiscal management, a Pilot Project Program, a Career Development Program, targeted Facility Cores, and a Community Outreach and Engagement Core. These services provide state-of-the-art resources to our members, and multiple enrichment activities including seminars, symposia and poster sessions, as well as engagement of our members in stakeholder and community discussions to enhance the membership’s abilities to communicate with the lay public.

The specific aims of the Administrative Core are:

  • To provide critical resources and infrastructure to engage and support environmental health research.
  • To direct research toward emerging and significant environmental health problems, we will coordinate new areas of research within existing or newly formed Flexible Interdisciplinary Research Groups.
  • To manage all fiscal operations of the CEHS, including providing timely budget reports to the CEHS Director and Deputy Director, all Pilot Project awardees, all facility cores and the COEC each month.
  • To facilitate research activities from research proposal development to reporting of results.

Center director: James Swenberg, DVM, PhD
Deputy director: Melissa Troester, PhD
Director of Interdisciplinary Research: William Kaufmann, PhD
Director of Translational Research: David Peden, MD, MS
Center administrator: Jorge Izquierdo, DDS, PhD
Business manager: Rhonda Turner, BS

External Advisory Committee

The External Advisory Committee (EAC) consists of five renowned environmental health scientists with expertise in toxicology, mass spectrometry, systems biology, genomics, pulmonary and cardiovascular disease, epidemiology and outreach. The EAC members, individually and as a team, provide expert opinion in areas relevant to the Center’s research and dissemination activities. Members of the External Advisory Committee are also called upon on an ad hoc basis to review or suggest other reviewers for the pilot projects, as appropriate to their areas of expertise.