The NIEHS Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center at the University of Miami has been funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for over 10 years. The NIEHS Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center at the University of Miami is based at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences campus. The Center is a collaborative effort of 19 Investigators from three UM campuses and 6 external organizations.
The NIEHS Center has 2 principal research themes:
The overall mission of the NIEHS Center is to evaluate the impact of the oceans and freshwater bodies on human health, by assessing and understanding risks, and by seeking remedies.
Per Anderson et al (2000, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), the economic impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms and their human and environmental marine and freshwater toxin diseases in the US from 1987-1992 cost an estimated minimum of $49,329,845 based on public health, commercial fisheries, recreation and tourism, and monitoring and management costs.
The NIEHS Center provides information focused on the human (not just environmental) health effects of the Harmful Algal Blooms. In addition to administrative and scientific information concerning the NIEHS Center, there are patient and healthcare provider targeted (downloadable) information concerning the diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and epidemiology of the marine and Fresh Water toxins and human health. In addition, the TOXMASTER email site linked to the NIEHS Center Website has provided a venue for patients, healthcare providers, as well as other scientists, reporters, lawyers, and the general public, to anonymously ask questions concerning possible human health effects of the harmful algal blooms.
Investigators and their collaborators of the NIEHS Center are performing epidemiologic research on the following issues related to the marine and freshwater toxin diseases:
- A Study of Aerosolized Red Tides and their Effects on Human Health
- A Study of the Neuropsychological Effects of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
- A Pilot Study of Occupational Harmful Algal Blooms
- A Study of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning Reporting by physicians in an endemic area
- Reported Ciguatera Cases in South Florida using Establishment of a Marine Seafood Toxin Disease Hotline
- Outreach and Education through the Establishment of a Marine Seafood Toxin Disease Hotline
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the Epidemiology of the Marine and Freshwater Toxin Diseases
- Blue Green Algal Toxins, Surface Drinking Water, and Hepatocellular Carcinoma using GIS
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Endemic Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
Investigators and their collaborators in the area of Marine Models of Human Health are using the following models to examine a range of issues:
A vigorous Pilot Project program is represented by four recently selected applications:
- Functional Analysis of Zinc Regulatory Genes in Transgenic Zebrafish
- Red Tide Toxin Effects on Hearing: a Vertebrate Model
- Molecule-Based Sensors for Carcinogenic Pollutants
- Microbial Recreational Water Indicators in the Subtropical Marine Environment
For more information concerning these studies, please contact TOXMASTER and check the READINGS section for additional materials.