The National Academy of Sciences lists climate change, emerging infections and pollutant impacts as 3 of the 6 most important environmental challenges of this century. Dynamics of disease, environmental change, and gene-environment interactions have been affecting human, animal, and plant health for decades, but we are only now beginning to address these interactions in ways that can disrupt infectious disease vectors, enable precautionary design of chemicals and materials, and develop medical treatments to minimize negative impacts. Scientists are also identifying an increasing number of beneficial human/ environment interactions, including the micro biomes in our digestive systems and on our skin.
Penn State researchers are beginning to gather around these important questions. PSIEE has already hosted a number of workshops, and plan to continue these and other activities, to facilitate team development and knowledge sharing in this emerging area.