The University of Maryland, College Park, was awarded a $19 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health to develop a new research center dedicated to the study of tobacco products and their impact on public health, according to a university news release.
The University of Maryland Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science is one of 14 centers nationwide being created as part of a new federally funded program to provide scientific information for the FDA to regulate tobacco and protect public health, the release stated.
Pamela Clark, director of the new research center and research professor in the university’s School of Public Health, said the university was awarded the grant due to the research into tobacco products already underway.
“We are at the very cutting edge in our research,” Clark said. “We’re looking at tobacco products from multiple directions: toxicity, how likely they are to be abused, that is, their level of addiction, and also bacterial contamination.”
The impact of bacterial contamination of tobacco products and their potential health risks is a little-researched area of study on which Clark said the university’s research center hopes to shed more light.
The research team will consist of nine research experts from the University of Maryland, College Park; two genomics specialists from the University of Maryland, Baltimore; a neuroscientist from George Mason University of Fairfax, Va.; and several experts from Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization headquartered in Ohio, according to the release.
“The University of Maryland School of Public Health’s expertise has positioned us to make significant contributions to reducing the burden of preventable disease caused by tobacco use,” Jane E. Clark, dean of the School of Public Health, said in the release. “With our strategic collaborations across the College Park campus, and with the School of Medicine in Baltimore, Battelle and George Mason, we are armed with tools to tackle this complex public health challenge.”