Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walker (320x240)
Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., director of the Center for Precision Environmental Health at Baylor.

Population health and precision medicine have been gaining popularity and influence in healthcare for years, but training for new scientists interested in these fields has been relatively limited. In a new five-year, $1.2 million T32 training grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health launch a joint program with the Gulf Coast Consortia for Qualitative Biomedical Sciences to address this gap in research training and experience.

The goal of the interdisciplinary Training Program in Precision Environmental Health Sciences (TPEHS) is to train the next generation of environmental health scientists working at the interface of genetics, environmental health and data science.

“Expertise in all three of these disciplines is needed for today’s precision environmental health research, but few researchers have the training they need to incorporate them seamlessly,” said Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walker, director of the Center for Precision Environmental Health and professor in the Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Medicine and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor.

The TPEHS is designed to meet the need for this interdisciplinary training by preparing the environmental health science researchers of tomorrow to make important scientific advances and improve our understanding of how our environment influences health and disease.

“This is a really innovative program, and will be the first of its kind for Texas. We are excited to see how trainees will apply what they learn from the program to their research, and how this training will accelerate advances in environmental health research in the future,” added Walker, who also is a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor.

Walker will serve as the training program director; co-directors are Dr. Richard Finnell, also a member of the Center for Precision Environmental Health and professor in the Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Medicine at Baylor, Dr. Rui Chen, professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics and the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor, and Dr. Craig Hanis, professor in the Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Science department at UT Health Science Center at Houston.