The Gulf Coast Center for Precision Environmental Health (GC-CPEH): NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (P30 EHSCC Program) in Partnership

The GC-CPEH, a partnership between Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, and the University of Texas Medical Branch, is the focal point and catalyst for environmental health research in the Texas Medical Center, driving collaborative and multidisciplinary research and serving the community engagement and policy needs of the Gulf Coast region. As the catalyst for environmental health research across the Texas Medical Center, the GC-CPEH brings together researchers from multiple institutions, spanning a range of scientific and clinical disciplines and training backgrounds.

The overarching goals of the GC-CPEH are to stimulate impactful environmental health science research, provide inter-institutional access to resources and state-of-the-art technologies, foster community engagement, and enable rapid coordination of research and response activities during and after environmental disasters.

The GC-CPEH facilitates cross-disciplinary interactions to improve human environmental health in three Thematic Focus Areas:

  • Early Life Genome and Epigenome Environment (GE2) Interactions led by Dr. Cheryl Walker, BCM and Dr. Zheng Sun, BCM  Research within the GE2 Interactions Theme seeks to understand the impact of our early life environment on health and susceptibility to disease across the life course.
  • Disaster Research Response (DR2) led by Dr. Cornelis “Kees” Elferink, UTMB.
  • Mechanisms and Interventions in Human Environmental Disease (MIHED) led by Dr. Elaine Symanski, BCM and Dr. Daniel Gorelick, BCM.  The goal of the MIHED Theme is to identify environmental risk factors for disease, evaluate the underlying mechanisms that explain how environmental stressors affect biological systems, and develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions that mitigate environmental health risks.
GC-CPEH Organizational Structure and Leadership

Participating Institutions

Baylor College of Medicine

Center for Precision Environmental Health. Working at the intersection of genetics, environmental health, and data science, researchers in Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Precision Environmental Health, seek to understand these differing effects, evaluating gene-environment interactions. Under the direction of Dr. Cheryl Walker, the CPEH builds on its affiliation with other Baylor College of Medicine departments, as well as state and national centers. Center researchers will be working collaboratively at the intersection of genetics/epigenetics, environmental health, and data science to understand how the environment influences health and disease and uncover new disease control strategies and interventions.

Advanced Technology Cores. The Advanced Technology Cores at Baylor provide state-of-the-art instrumentation and technologies to support research of all faculty on a fee-for-service basis. Many of these Cores provide infrastructure and expertise for GC-CPEH Facility Cores.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) is a NIOSH Education and Research Center (ERC) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The mission of the SWCOEH is to promote and improve health, safety, and well-being in the workplace and the community by supporting research, education and outreach in occupational and environmental health.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Sealy Center for Environmental Health Medicine. The mission of the Sealy Center for Environmental Health Medicine is to explore the environmental basis of human diseases by fostering collaborative interactions amongst multidisciplinary basic and clinical investigators pursuing both fundamental and translational research pertaining to the effects of environmental factors on human health. The Sealy Center is housed at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, located in a large metropolitan area on the Gulf of Mexico coast, surrounding the nation’s busiest shipping port (Port of Houston) and an expansive petrochemical refining and manufacturing infrastructure. Our proximity to sources of significant environmental stressors makes UTMB at Galveston a compelling site for an environmental health sciences center. The underlying causes of these stressors include the changing natural environment, including acute and long-term meteorological conditions (namely hurricanes and the effects of climate change), population density, personal and commercial transportation patterns, and the endemic petrochemical industry. Some of the most serious environmental issues are ozone pollution, emissions of fine particulates, hazardous chemical releases, hazardous waste sites, and legacy contamination of the human ecosystem. Sealy Center investigators work with community stakeholders to frame the critical research issues and inform evidence-based solutions to environmental health concerns.

The Institute for Translational Sciences The Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS) aims to train a new generation of clinical and translational researchers, engage stakeholders and communities in research, address barriers to clinical and translational research, and advance translational research through team-based approaches. The ITS houses UTMB at Galveston’s Clinical Translational Sciences Award (CTSA), funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The CTSA supports the health goals of the nation by generating, testing and disseminating integrative team science, education and best practices through stakeholder involvement at all stages.


Logos for UT Health, Baylor College of Medicine and UTMB Health

One Baylor Plaza, MS 229
Houston, TX 77030

Cite the Center

Please remember to cite center in your publications.

“Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P30ES030285. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.”