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NIH grant to fund VMRCVM environmental toxicity model

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 12 - November 9, 1995

Researchers in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Aquatic Medicine Laboratory have been awarded a $280,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the role fish might play in assessing environmental toxicity.

The objective of the three-year study is to ascertain the fish's suitability as a non-mammalian laboratory animal in assessing immunotoxicity, according to Steven Holladay, an immunotoxicologist in the college's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.

"The immune system appears to be among the most sensitive organ systems to a variety of environmental contaminants," Holladay said.

Researchers have gathered a great deal of evidence about the role toxins play in carcinogenesis, Holladay said, but less information is available concerning the role of these agents in immunosuppression.

Holladay and colleague Stephen Smith, who directs the Aquatic Medicine Laboratory, have already conducted significant work characterizing immune suppression in fish exposed to environmental contaminants.