Northeastern University has received a $9.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the impact of exposure to environmental contamination on preterm birth rates and to develop sustainable solutions. PROTECT—which includes Northeastern, the University of Puerto Rico, and the University of Michigan—is co-directed by Akram Alshawabkeh and Jose F. Cordero, dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico. The interdisciplinary team includes faculty members from Northeastern’s College of Engineering, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, and College of Social Sciences and Humanities. To support its mission, PROTECT also engages with government agencies and nonprofit organizations such as March of Dimes and the Silent Spring Institute.
The latest grant from the NIH will fund the next phase of a study of the extent to which exposure to commonly found chemicals, such as phthalates, is related to the extremely high preterm birthrate in Puerto Rico.