Centers of Excellence

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL GEOLOGY INSTITUTE (IMGI)

A. Umran Dogan1, Tuncay Delibasi2, Meral Dogan3 1University of Iowa, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Center for Global and Regional Environ-mental Research (CGRER), Iowa City, Iowa, USA. 2Ankara Diskapi Training and Research Hospital, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ankara, Turkey. 3Hacettepe University, Department of Geological Engineering, Ankara, Turkey December, 2011


INTRODUCTION
The major goal of this project is to establish an International Medical Geology Institute (IMGI).
The IMGI will be located in Ankara, Turkey where facilities are adequate for the initial activities of the re-search, and the expertise of critical faculty members is available to conduct such studies. IMGI will also pro-mote and guide the International program of Medical Geology research. The IMGI, with the six research cen-ters and the repository, will facilitate research on medical geology/environmental problems and associated dis-eases in people. Data produced from these studies will be made available to the international research commu-nity and to environmental policy makers.


OBJECTIVES
To conduct research in human populations defining the health effects of environmental exposures to miner-als and toxic substances.
To facilitate and assure the future of research activities concerning the objective, create a safe repository for human tissues, cells, and mineralogical samples so that molecular and cellular analysis and quantitative mineralogical studies can be performed using tissues, cells, and soil/rock samples.
To identify early biochemical and molecular biology changes in ¡§exposed¡¨ people in attempts to identify high versus low risk individuals and groups.
To provide an academic environment that will encourage and promote research in medical geology, which is vital in developing countries.
To build and expand on existing and future scientific strengths within the universities and industries.
To assure that the research conducted will promote proper international exchange and to disseminate the scientific information within the community concerning the potential environmental health effects.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
International Scientific Board
An International Scientific Board will be composed of prominent, internationally recognized, scientists and medical doctors, who have active interests in this field. Their terms will be for two years and the total num-bers will be defined by an advisory panel. The scientists and medical doctors on this board will give advice and assist in the development and implementation of the IMGI's overall objectives and guide the directorate in the international scientific affairs. The board members will also act as contact sources for collaborative re-search between their countries/universities and the IMGI via the coordinator.

International Board Members (2012-2014)
Dr. Jose Centeno, USA
Dr. Olle Selinus, Sweden
Dr. Robert Finkelman, USA
Prof. Philip Weinstein, Australia
Prof. Michele Carbone, USA
Prof. Paolo Ballirano, Italy
Prof. Mickey Gunter, USA
Prof. Tonci Balic-Zunic, Denmark
Prof. Gregory Carmichael, USA


IMGI Coordinator
The Center will integrate laboratory, computational, library, and human resources. The IMGI Coordinator, Prof. A. Umran Dogan, will be a liaison between International Medical Geology Association (IMGA) and IMGI. The IMGI coordinator will be responsible for coordination of international issues related to Medical Geology. The IMGI Coordinator will also be a member of the IMGI’s research team.
IMGI Directors
The IMGI will provide the locus and the resources for bringing together skills and knowledge from a variety of disciplines to conduct research into complex environmental problems.
There are two directors, one for Medical Science, Assoc. Prof. Tuncay Delibasi and the other Geological Sci-ence, Asst. Prof. Meral Dogan. The directors will be:
(i) responsible for both administration and the organizations of academicians working for the IMGI.
(ii) expected to build a strong international scientific recognition for the IMGI.
(iii) responsible for seeking additional funds for both operational and research purposes
(iv) expected to facilitate their own scholarly research.
IMGI Proposed Centers
The IMGI initially will have six research centers and a repository:
Environmental Mineralogy and Geochemistry
Molecular Biology and Toxicology
Air Pollution and Its Remediation
Soil Pollution and Its Remediation
Water Pollution and Its Remediation
Risk Assessment and Epidemiology
Repository


Center’s Responsibilities

It is expected that the leaders of each of these centers will conduct assigned and self-initiated research,
collaborate with the international community and publish their findings in scholarly journals.
Each center will be under the direction of the IMGI Directors.

Research, Education, and Publication
The IMGI will provide a place where a rich educational experience will be obtained, especially at the graduate and post doctoral level.
The directorate has explicit responsibility for assuring that the facilities are used fully.
The IMGI will make sure that all publications are made available to the international research community and the editorial board coordinated by Prof. Dogan will include many prominent scientists.

CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN EMERGING AND ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES AND ENVIRON-MENTAL SCIENCE (CREATES)
Carlos M. Padin and Beatriz Zayas, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, PR.


Universidad Metropolitana is establishing a Center for Research in Emerging and Advanced Technologies and Environmental Science (CREATES), an interdisciplinary research center at the INTENOR Science Park in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. INTENOR is a non-profit coalition for regional economic development in north-ern Puerto Rico that brings together academia, government and industry.


CREATES is an innovative project geared to provide a research facility for principal investigators who are actively conducting research, have secured sponsored funding for their research, and are exploring collabora-tive research projects to expand their possibilities for the creation of new knowledge. It has a unique location within a Science Park surrounded by pharma and biotech industries. The additional support offered by a coali-tion comprised of key stakeholders in academics, government and industry will create a synergistic initiative for research that crosses the traditional boundaries and foments a comprehensive network for investigation.


The scientific and technical merit of the proposed use of the facility lies in the research to be conducted, which includes research lines in the areas of biomonitoring, bioremediation, biomarkers, geospatial analysis and risk mapping, as well as the emerging fields of metallomics and medical geology. This center will have the first dedicated metallomics and medical geology research laboratory in Puerto Rico, making it only one of three worldwide. It will also have the first medical geology laboratory on the island. The integration of multidisci-plinary research at this science building meets the required framework of the ecosystem approach, validated by the United Nations.
Following an Ecosystem Approach, the researchers at the Center will be conducting investigations that will enable the entire team to engage in broad analysis of ecosystem issues. True to the ecosystem approach, it will have a broad impact. Research results and data will be integrated into the GIS databases. This wealth of data will form the raw material for the risk analysis. Research results and their analysis will be disseminated through presentations and international networking activities, including opportunities for national/international students and researchers to spend time conducting research activities at the Center.


Summary of a poster presentation, GEOMED 2011, Bari, Italy 20-25 September, 2011.