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Release: July 11, 2001

Thorne to lead UI Environmental Health Sciences Research Center

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC), a multidisciplinary center focused on agricultural and rural environmental exposures and health effects, is under new leadership.

Peter Thorne, Ph.D., professor of occupational and environmental health, has been named director of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC), succeeding James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health. Merchant directed the center from its inception in 1990.

"Dr. Thorne will provide excellent leadership for this core center," Merchant said. "Under his guidance, the EHSRC will continue to fulfill its mission of investigating and addressing the environmental health issues of concern to Iowans and others living in rural areas."

Thorne, an environmental toxicologist who trained at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Pittsburgh, previously was the center's deputy director. He also directs the EHSRC's Inhalation Toxicology Facility and the center's pilot project grant program. He has been with the
UI since 1988.

Thorne's research interests include bioaerosol toxicology, pulmonary diseases, evaluation and control of toxicants in agricultural and industrial settings, and indoor air quality.

"I am extremely honored to have been selected to lead the EHSRC," Thorne said. "This center brings together leading UI researchers to address many of the complex environmental health problems we face, problems such as pesticide-induced cancer, environmental contaminants from agricultural operations, and rural childhood asthma."

Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health, the EHSRC provides expertise and core facilities to promote environmental health research at the UI. The EHSRC interacts with other environmental health research units at the UI, including the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, and the University Hygienic Laboratory. The center is based in the UI College of Public Health's department of occupational and environmental health and includes 51 faculty from the UI Colleges of Public Health, Medicine and Engineering.