NOAA OHHI Traineeships

Project: Pacific Northwest Consortium for Pre- and Post-doctoral Traineeships in Oceans and Human Health

Principal Investigator: Ginger Armbrust, Ph.D., Professor, School of Oceanography, University of Washington

Abstract: The purpose of the proposed Pacific Northwest Consortium for Pre- and Post-doctoral Traineeships in Oceans and Human Health (PNW Consortium) is to train the next generation of scientists adept at understanding and shaping a newly emerging field focused on the interaction between oceans and human health and well-being. The PNW Consortium will be composed of faculty affiliated with the NSF/NIEHS-supported Pacific Northwest Center for Human Health and Ocean Studies coordinated through the University of Washington (UW Center); faculty affiliated with the NOAA- and NSFsponsored ECOHAB PNW; scientists from the West Coast Center for Oceans and Human Health, a NOAA Center of Excellence in Seattle (NOAA Center); managers from Washington Sea Grant; and practicum mentors from diverse areas, including shellfish management, water quality control, and ballast water management. PNW Consortium participants have a track-record of successful collaborations on factors that influence the impacts of harmful algal blooms, pathogens and chemical toxicants on shellfish safety; on the development of novel warning systems for detection of toxins; and on the use of model organisms to understand toxicant impacts. PNW Consortium funds will be used to support stipend and tuition for 4 graduate students for 1-2 years each and the stipends for 3 post-doctoral researchers for 1 year each to conduct research in one of these 3 areas. The proposed support structure is designed to maximize the number of early-career scientists exposed to the research philosophy and opportunities associated with participation in the PNW Consortium. Four explicit requirements accompany this support model.

1) PNW Consortium mentors will provide support for research costs during PNW Consortium-supported training;

2) PNW Consortium mentors will provide all necessary support for graduate students to successfully progress towards completion of their Ph.D.s once PNW Consortium support is completed;

3) PNW Consortium mentors will provide all necessary support for post-doctoral researchers for a minimum of 1 additional year after completion of PNW Consortium support;

4) Students and postdoctoral researchers receiving support from the PNW Consortium will continue to participate in and contribute to PNW Consortium activities after their financial support is completed.

PNW Consortium funds will be used entirely for recruitment and retention of talented graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. Together, the NOAA and UW Centers currently support the research of 9 post-doctoral researchers, 10 graduate students, and 14 undergraduates who are actively conducting research on Oceans and Human Health. New PNW Consortium trainees will have a .ready-made. cohort of likeminded early-career scientists to interact with and learn from. Moreover, a number of training opportunities are in place because of already established interactions between the NOAA and UW Centers: trainees will participate in a jointly sponsored biweekly seminar series; they will participate in a yearly research cruise in Puget Sound, WA aboard the R/V Thompson; they will have opportunities to mentor undergraduates supported through the NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Oceans and Human Health program; they will interact with the NSF-sponsored Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence Ocean Learning Center (COSEE-OCL) coordinated through the University of Washington; and they will work closely with Consortium members from the NOAA Center with whom established collaborations already exist. A jointly taught, seminar-format class will use case studies to further train new graduate students and postdoctoral researchers on the complicated interactions between oceans and human health.

Project: Georgia Oceans and Human Health Initiative Graduate Training Consortium

Principal Investigator: Erin K. Lipp, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UGA Environmental Health Science

Abstract: The GOHI Graduate Training Consortium will be based at the University of Georgia as a primary collaboration between the College of Public Health and the School of Marine Programs (Dept. of Marine Science). The goals of this initiative will be to develop doctoral level scientists who are trained in both fundamental laboratory and field skills of marine and environmental sciences and engaged in human health applications of ocean science through exposure and involvement in public health policy. All trainees will participate in research with investigators at the NOAA Oceans and Human Health Center at Hollings Marine Lab (Charleston, SC) or NOAA.s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab (Miami), as well as public health and policy experiences with federal, state or local agencies (including the Georgia Division of Public Health). Additionally, students participating in this initiative will pursue public health electives, and other courses and seminars developed in oceans and human health through this program, to facilitate true cross disciplinary training in ocean science and public health.

Currently, researchers across UGA are engaged in research related to the mission of NOAA.s Oceans and Human Health Initiative. In particular, the PIs have nationally recognized programs in microbial ecology and human pathogens in estuaries and shellfish, pharmaceutical contaminants and aquatic toxicology, and the effects of climate change. Investigators include microbiologists, biogeochemists, toxicologists and ecologists with ongoing research programs in which a human health component already exists or can be easily incorporated. Two of the PIs (Erin Lipp and Dana Cole) are currently funded under the NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative. Furthermore, collaborating investigators at NOAA centers will complement these research strengths. Specifically, this training program will focus on three core areas: microbial ecology and human pathogens in coastal zones; aquatic toxicology; and the role of oceans and microbes in climate change. Finally, collaboration with the newly formed College of Public Health and the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program at UGA will facilitate both research collaboration and cross-disciplinary curriculum, which will be supportive of this training initiative.

Under the proposed consortium of established researchers in ocean and environmental science and public health at the University of Georgia, NOAA scientists, and partners in public health agencies, our aim is to develop a model curriculum for PhD students interested in focusing their research to an oceans and human health track. Three PhD students will engage in cross-disciplinary research through regular interaction with all of these groups throughout their graduate career. Additionally, two students per year from multiple sciencebased degree programs will have the opportunity to diverge from their primary research to explore policy and research associated with oceans and human health; thereby expanding exposure to the topic. At the end of grant period, 9 students will be broadly trained in both aquatic/ocean sciences and its application to human health issues and health policy and will be prepared to successfully move forward in this growing field. The additional benefit of this training program is the increased collaboration between UGA faculty in traditional natural and ocean sciences and public health and increased collaboration with regional NOAA research scientists; we hope this will lead to future research partnerships in ocean and human health issues.

Project: Training Tomorrow's Ecosystem and Public Health Leaders Using Marine Mammals as Sentinels of Oceanic Change

Principal Investigator: Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis

Abstract: Marine mammals have proven to be effective and highly sensitive indicators of declining ocean health and looming human health concerns. Our continued reliance on the ocean ecosystems for sustenance and recreation requires that careful attention be paid to early warnings suggested by marine mammal sentinels. Providing excellent training for the next generation of environmental science leaders and researchers is the only way to ensure new discoveries, new diagnostic technology, and integration of the vast amount of new information possible through intensive monitoring of ocean health. This proposal addresses the primary objectives of the Interagency Oceans and Human Health Research Program to conduct interdisciplinary research on

(1) harmful algal blooms,

(2) marine organisms as models for biomedical research and as indicators of marine environmental health, and

(3) predictive models integrating indicators of marine environmental health or public health threats.

Top-notch researchers will be trained who will investigate the link between ocean and human health and influence policy to sustain healthy populations of wildlife and people in our coastal regions. Specifically, our trainees will focus on zoonotic diseases in marine mammals that provide evidence of coastal pathogen pollution, the chronic effects of exposure to harmful toxins, especially domoic acid and polychlorinated biphenyls, and ecosystem-level risk assessment models that will analyze adverse marine mammal health events in coastal regions in order to predict human health threats. This training program takes advantage of ongoing research partnerships and ocean health management collaborations at the West Coast and East Coast OHH Centers of Excellence at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Hollings Marine Laboratory, as well as the world leader in scientific marine mammal stranding response and rehabilitation, The Marine Mammal Center, and a top tier research university specializing in training ecosystem health professionals, the University of California at Davis, to provide a uniquely qualified training ground for the next generation of scientific leadership.
Project: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Initiative on Coastal Ecosystems and Human Health

Principal Investigator: J. Evan Ward, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut

Abstract: Healthy coastal ecosystems are essential for the survival and prosperity of human populations. The organisms that reside in these ecosystems, i.e., living marine resources (LMR), provide employment, revenue, recreation and food to people worldwide. Unfortunately, human activities are having profound impact on many coastal systems. For example, anthropogenic perturbations have been implicated in increasing the spread of invasive species, expanding the range and abundance of disease-causing agents, increasing the spread and frequency of occurrence of harmful-algal blooms, and directly contaminating habitats with various pollutants. These impacts cause a cascade of events leading to, for example, habitat degradation, reduction of ecosystem services, and loss of species diversity. In addition, as coastal ecosystems degrade, feedback consequences arise, such as decline in the abundance and safety of seafood, that negatively impact humans. We propose to develop an interdisciplinary graduate training and post-doctoral mentoring initiative that builds on our current academic and research strengths which focus on major problems impacting coastal ecosystems. Specifically, I-RICH will include a broad base in marine sciences, coupled with specific training in one of three focus areas which represent critical problems in the coastal zone that impact LMRs (e.g., fish, shellfish, marine mammals). These focus areas have been chosen based on the expertise of our faculty and collaborating scientists and include:

1) marine diseases and pathogens,

2) emerging pollutants such as nanoparticles, and

3) impacts/consequences of harmful algal blooms (HABs).

I-RICH will include education, research, and outreach components, and is based on two fundamental principles:

1) The land, sea, and atmosphere are inextricably connected and human perturbations of one Earth system will often affect another (Preliminary report, US COP 2004); and

2) In order to fully understand the manifold of effects that human activities have on coastal ecosystems and the cascade of consequences they initiate, interdisciplinary research and training programs must be developed.

Collectively, the I-RICH consortium has the facilities, human resources, and expertise to interact with other institutions and agencies committed to oceans and human health, and educate and train the next generation of scientists who will address and shape responses to pressing coastal management problems related to living marine resources, seafood safety and human health. The goal of the I-RICH consortium is to train scientists who can work effectively in the coastal zone, who understand the dynamics of the coastal system (physics, chemistry, biology) and the specific problems that exist, and how these problems relate to human health. Such scientists will be able to interact with management officials and public health workers, and will be sought out for their interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise. iii

Project: HML Consortium for Research Training in Oceans and Human Health

Principal Investigator: Eric R. Lacy, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences Center, Medical University of South Carolina

Abstract: The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) through the Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences Center (MBES) proposes establishing a graduate and postdoctoral training consortium with NOAA Center of Excellence in Oceans and Human Health (OHHI) at the Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML) in Charleston, SC. Supporting partners are those in HML (National Institute of Standards and Technology, SC Dept. of Natural Resources, College of Charleston Grice Marine Lab, and NOS/Center for Coastal & Environmental Health Biomolecular Research), those in Charleston (NOAA/Coastal Services Center, Coastal Conservation League, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and SC Dept of Health and Environmental Health), and the Savannah State University (SSU), Marine Sciences Program. NOAA funds are requested to support the training of 1 doctoral student and 2 postdoctoral fellows in the application of molecularly based biological and chemical techniques to solve relevant health problems that link humans with the marine environment. We will train across one or more of 5 research domains where exceptional inter-institutional strengths exist, all of which support the OHHI goals and HML mission:

1)Bioinformatics, Biostatistics, and Epidemiology

2) Structural Biology


4)Functional Genomics

5)Marine Microbiology.

These research foci will offer the student and postdoctoral fellows an exceptional opportunity for training in one or more of these inter-disciplinary areas. Students will be co-mentored by an NOS scientist and one from MUSC. The lab bench work will be done in Charleston providing day by day continuity of their co-mentoring. The consortia partners will provide ancillary training in their respective labs and agencies and are expected to be members of student dissertation committees. An interagency (MUSC/NOS) 5 member Steering Committee, that includes the OHHI Center Director and the MBES Director, will play a key role in training by screening potential student/postdoctoral applicants to the program, approving comentors and OHHI/MUSC compatible research, and reviewing trainee progress. Program applicants will be recruited from an existing pool of students in their early training in MBES and from postdoctoral fellows having prior molecular and public health/policy training. A new curriculum for students will be developed consisting of the following:

1) classes in molecular based biomedicine at MUSC;

2) seminars germane to human health;

3) six-week rotations through NOS/MBES co-mentor labs;

4) two required courses; Marine Functional Genomics/Proteomics/Bioinformatics and OHH Curriculum Development which will include development and teaching of a new course(s) Oceans and Human Health in collaboration with SSU faculty and students.

5) three additional elective courses ranging from marine policy and law to eco-toxicology;

6) selection of co-mentors, committee members and dissertation topics with Steering Committee approval,

6) progress reports to Steering Committee and MUSC College of Graduate Studies;

7) internship with public health/marine policy professionals;

8) inclusion of internship results as a chapter in their dissertation; and

9) dissertation defense.

MUSC is committed to assuring that OHHI students are continuously trained in the integration of marine and human health beyond the 3 years of support provided by this NOS grant and thus will provide full support (stipend, health benefits and tuition) for the final years of the students. training when the NOS support ends. The proposed OHHI training program will build a cadre of scientists that will have the cutting edge molecularly based technological tools to apply to emerging linkages between oceans and human health. Trainees will be prepared to develop careers in academia, government or the private sector with the cross cutting experience gained in this program through a rigorous training in hypothesis-based molecular research in a context of human and marine ecosystem health and policy.