C-CHEM² About Us

Collecting Data

About the Center

Researchers at the Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, the Microbiome, and Metabolomics (C-CHEM2) conduct research to understand the complex interactions among components of the prenatal and postnatal environment — toxicant exposures, the microbiome, and the metabolome — and their impacts on birth outcomes and infant health and neurodevelopment. The human microbiome is representative of microbial organisms that reside in the gut, while the metabolome represents the collection of metabolites and small molecules found in the bodily tissues, organs, and cells.

Environmental exposures among residents of the urban Southeast are likely distinctive from people in other parts of the United States; however, no studies have characterized exposures among minorities within this region from birth. C-CHEM2 leverages data and samples from a newly funded cohort of more than 800 African American women and their children living in metropolitan Atlanta to investigate how behavioral factors and the microbiome impact preterm birth and how epigenetics and genetics affect the microbiomes of study participants. The center also leverages rich datasets and resources within the NIEHS-funded Human Exposome Research Center: Understanding Lifetime Exposures (HERCULES) at Emory, and an interdisciplinary team of scientists with expertise in environmental health, neurodevelopment, maternal-child health, and preventive medicine. 

Purpose:

  1. Characterize the environmental exposures of 300 pregnant African American women and their infants living in the metro Atlanta community.
  2. Characterize the associations between environmental exposures, the infant microbiome, and infant neurodevelopment.
  3. Ensure effective translation of center discoveries into sustainable strategies to reduce environmental exposures that negatively impact the microbiome and subsequent fetal/infant neurodevelopment.
  4. The purpose of the Community Outreach and Translation core (COTC) is to share existing children’s environmental health knowledge, as well as emerging research – with African American women and families in the Atlanta metropolitan area. This is achieved through an integrative approach in which community partners, COTC staff, and research scientists inform each other on how and what environmental health concerns are relevant, accessible and culturally appropriate.