News Release
Trevor Penning, PhD, a professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics and founding director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the University of Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA— The Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the University of Pennsylvania received an $8 million grant, to be distributed over the next five years, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a renewal of its P30 Environmental Health Sciences Core Center (EHSCC) grant.

“The Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology combines rigorous scientific and medical research with direct community engagement and policy-making to effect positive outcomes for the health of our environment and our communities. One cannot conduct meaningful environmental health research without engaging the communities affected, ” said Trevor Penning, PhD, a professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics and founding director of CEET. “Center researchers come from 16 departments in four schools across Penn and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and collaborate across fields of study and expertise to solve environmental health challenges in our region, work for environmental and social justice, and empower communities to effect change.”

The mission of CEET is to elucidate the mechanistic links between environmental exposures and human disease, and translate its findings into action to improve the health of vulnerable individuals, and local, national and global communities. CEET is the only EHSCC in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region III (PA, DE, MD, VA, WV and Washington, D.C).

The grant will allow CEET members to conduct cutting edge environmental health research with a focus on exposures that affect Southeastern Pennsylvania and its communities. The Center’s thematic areas in air pollution and lung health, environmental exposures and cancer, windows of susceptibility and environmental neuroscience enable its members to conduct meaningful research on these exposures. The vibrant Community Engagement Core (CEC) will continue to disseminate research findings, address issues of environmental justice (EJ) and influence public policy.

The environmental injustice that exists is reflected in the COVID-19 pandemic and influenced by the social determinants of health. In this regard, the CEET has already issued a statement of solidarity in support of our communities of color.

CEET members’ research is supported by state-of-the art facility cores: Translational Biomarker Core (uses sophisticated analytical methods to detect biomarkers of exposure and effect in biospecimens), Integrative Health Sciences facility Core (human subject study design, exposure biology laboratories, and population sciences with an emphasis on environmental epidemiology and geospatial modeling), and Exposure Biology Informatics (with a focus on computational toxicology, artificial intelligence to identify patterns of toxic response and exposomics). The CEET looks forward to improving environmental health in our region with the hope that lessons learned will be translatable elsewhere.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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