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External Funding

External funding provides support for various studies conducted within the Trace Elements Laboratory. Major external funding awarded since 2019 includes:

National Institutes of Health

Wadsworth Center's Human Health Exposure Assessment Resource (WC-HHEAR)

  • NIEHS: 2U2C ES026542
  • Patrick J. Parsons (contact MPI); Kurunthachalam Kannan (MPI)
  • 2019-2024 ($4,000,000)

As one of six national lab “hubs” previously funded under the NIH’s Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR), the HHEAR program at the Wadsworth Center builds upon the success of CHEAR by providing targeted analyses of human biospecimens for environmental contaminants across all life stages in support of NIH-funded researchers. Under the HHEAR program, Dr. Parsons’ laboratory provides targeted analyses of biospecimens for inorganic contaminants (metals and metalloids) along with expertise in exposure assessment. Targeted analyses for organic contaminants associated with HHEAR are carried out under a subcontract to Dr. Kurunthachalam Kannan’s laboratory, which is located at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Much of the funding provided to the WC-HHEAR is specifically intended to support the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program, which is funded by NIH. ECHO supports multiple, synergistic, longitudinal studies using existing study populations, to investigate environmental exposures on child health and development.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Expanding New York State’s Biomonitoring Program for Emerging and Legacy Contaminants

  • CDC: 1 NU88EH001329
  • Patrick J. Parsons (PI)
  • 2019-2024 ($4,454,255)

The goal of this program is to establish the NY State Environmental Biomonitoring Program, to produce baseline data for approximately 45 environmental contaminants of public health significance, and establish statewide reference exposure levels for: per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); universal pesticides that include organophosphates, phenoxy acids, and pyrethroids; and trace metals/metalloids. The design of the NY Biomonitoring Program will follow federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sampling strategies and methodologies, and is an integral component of the National Biomonitoring Program. Dr. Parsons has overall responsibility for this biomonitoring study, working in partnership with state epidemiologists within the Center for Environmental Health to assess population exposures across NY State.

Food and Drug Administration

Wadsworth Center's Radiochemical, Microbiological and Chemical Testing for Food Defense and Capability Development

  • FDA: 1U19FD007089
  • Patrick J. Parsons (contact MPI); C. Egan (MPI)
  • 2020-2025 ($5,425,000)

This funding supports an integrated Radiochemical, Microbiological and Chemical Testing Program for Food Defense and Capability Development that will serve the needs of the FDA’s Food Emergency Response Network (FERN). It includes support for surveillance of foods for α, β, and γ radioactivity, as well as microbiology and chemistry food defense. This funding also provides support for the analysis of food matrices for toxic metals and arsenic speciation measurements in food.


Funded collaborations with other institutions

SUNY Buffalo

Effect of Complex Mixtures on Oxidative Stress and Cognition in Children

  • Dr. Katarzyna Kordas (PI)
  • NIEHS 1R01ES031411

This follow-up study of a cohort (Salud Ambiental Montevideo) of 679 children from Uruguay will characterize metals in their blood and urine, pesticide metabolites and PAHs in urine, as well oxidative stress biomarkers. As a co-investigator and subcontract PI, Dr. Parsons’ lab will analyze 1,770 blood samples and 1,960 urine samples for a suite of 20 trace elements by ICP-MS.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill                                          

Investigating Inorganic Contaminants in Umbilical Cords

  • Dr. Rebecca Fry (PI)

The goal of this study is to assess pre-natal exposure to toxic metals and metalloids via the analysis of umbilical cord samples. Dr. Parsons’ laboratory is analyzing 300 de-identified prenatal tissue samples from the ELGAN cohort for essential and non-essential elements. Data for at least 11 elements (manganese, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, strontium, cadmium, antimony, barium, mercury, and lead) will be measured at ultra-trace levels using ICP-MS/MS.

University of Kentucky

Developmental Effects of Manganese Exposure in Rural Adolescents: The Cares Cohort Comes of Age

  • Dr. Erin Haynes (PI)
  • 1R01ES026446

This is a follow-up study of the Marietta CARES, a community-based study designed to explore the health effects of long term manganese exposure in children. The primary objectives are to examine biological indicators of manganese exposure in children and understand the effects of chronic manganese exposure in children.  As a collaborator on this study, Dr. Parsons’ laboratory conducts analyses for manganese (and other metals) in blood, and oversees the determination of serum cotinine concentration in this population of children.

Syracuse University

Environmental Toxicants, Race, And Cardiovascular Disease Risk In Children

  • Dr. Brooks Gump (PI) 
  • NIEHS 1R01ES023252

This project seeks to explore whether race/ethnicity differences in lead exposure might produce differing rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk through underlying alterations in cardiovascular responses to acute psychological stress, a mechanism whereby the psychosocial environment can affect CVD risk.

Dr. Parsons’ laboratory provides expertise on assessing Pb exposure and provides analyses of biospecimens for low levels of Pb, Hg and Cd. As a co-investigator, Dr. Parsons provides advice on specimen collection methods, data quality and interpretation of results.

Boston University School Public Health

Mesoamerican Nephropathy Occupational Study (MANOS)

  • Dr. Madeleine Scammell
  • NIEHS 5R01ES027584

The study follows a cohort of 600 workers from agricultural and non-agricultural industries in Central America, and investigates exposures to agrichemicals, metals and heat stress and the risk of chronic kidney disease. Dr. Parsons’ lab is analyzing a subset of de-identified samples (n = 200) for a suite of 16 trace elements including As, Sb, Cd, Pb, U and Hg by ICP-MS.

Past external collaborations:

  • Dr. Michael Bloom, SUNY Albany
  • Dr. Ryan Allen, Simon Fraser University, BC Canada
  • Dr. Arnulf H. Koeppen, VA Medical Center, Albany, NY
  • Dr. Lyn Howard, Albany Medical Center Hospital, Albany, NY
  • Dr. Zewu Chen, X-Ray Optical Systems, East Greenbush, NY
  • Dr. Brian Schwartz, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Dr. Eliseo Guallar, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Dr. Virginia Weaver, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Dr. Andrew Todd, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY