The Neural Exposome

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ONETOX | Neural Exposome and Toxicology Programs

It is widely acknowledged that most diseases and disorders cannot be attributed to genetic factors alone. Coined by Chris Paul Wild in 2005 (Wild, C.P. 2005 Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 14(8):1847-50), the term “exposome” describes the totality of internal and external exposures across the lifespan that affect human health. The “Neural Exposome” are those exposures that have an impact on neurological disease and disorders, and overall nervous system health. The exposures described in the exposome not only include environmental chemical and biological toxins, but also psychosocial factors and internal factors such as diet and the microbiome, and these exposures may occur anytime from in utero to late in life. A better understanding of how these exposomic factors interact with genes will lead to identifying more precise and effective intervention strategies, especially because many of the exposures are potentially modifiable.

Neural exposome figure displaying exogenous, endogenous, and behavioral factors exposures that have an impact on neurological disease and disorders, and overall nervous system health
Infographic displaying the three exposomic factors in large circles - Exogenous, Endogenous, and Behavioral - that have an impact on neurological disease and disorders, and overall nervous system health which is depicted by a brain graphic placed in the center of the three circles. Exogenous factors include environmental toxicants, light and noise, climate, ecosystems, and economics/eduction. Endogenous factors include genes/epigenetics, pre-existing conditions, metabolism, microbiome, and xenobiotics. Behavioral factors include psychological effects, drugs/alcohol/tobacco, lifestyle, sleep, and stress. 

The overall goal of ONETOX is to enhance basic, translational, and clinical NIH research on the effect of the neural exposome on nervous system diseases and disorders by fostering more collaborative research within the neuroscience research community. ONETOX provides information and tools to help break down barriers to research between different scientific disciplines which can be used to establish productive team science for targeted funding opportunities. Because of the large number and different kinds of exposures within the Neural Exposome that occur across the lifespan, ONETOX collaborates with many different Institutes and Centers across the NIH to obtain a full understanding of how these exposomic factors affect brain and nervous system health.

Tamiz AP, Koroshetz WJ, Dhruv NT, Jett DA (2022)
A focus on the neural exposome.
Neuron, 110:1286-1289. PubMed ID: 35349785

OPEN Stage Webinar:

The Neural Exposome - HOW NINDS is Supporting exposomic Research
October 23, 2023 | 1:00 pm EDT

This webinar will describe a new area of research on the Neural Exposome at NINDS. The neural exposome refers to the non-heritable factors affecting the nervous system including environmental/chemical exposures, the microbiome, and socio-behavioral stress. We will spotlight Erica Glasper, PhD, an NINDS funded investigator, who will provide a summary of her exciting research.

Investigators looking to form collaborative interdisciplinary research projects, trainees and early career faculty are strongly encouraged to attend.

Neural Exposome Funding Opportunity Q&A Webinar:

Role of Environmental Stress in the Health Inequities of Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias (ADRD) (R01 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
August 31, 2023 | 2:00 pm EDT

The Office of Neural Exposome and Toxicology (ONETOX/NINDS) in collaboration with the Office of Global Health and Health Disparities (OGHHD/NINDS) are pleased to announce the publication of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), RFA-NS-24-024: We invite applications for basic, translational, and human projects studying the role of environmental stressors on the health inequities in Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias

Investigators interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity are encouraged to register and participate in this Q&A Webinar.

 Resources and Tools


David A. Jett, Ph.D. | Director, ONETOX

Neel Dhruv, Ph.D. | Health Program Specialist

Amir Tamiz, Ph.D. | Director, Division of Translational Research

Funding Opportunities 

Neural Exposome Funding Opportunities

Neural Exposome Notices and Other Funding Announcements

News & Events

Tamiz AP, Koroshetz WJ, Dhruv NT, Jett DA. 2022. A focus on the neural exposome. Neuron. PMID: 35349785.

OPEN Stage Webinar: The Neural Exposome - How NINDS is Supporting Exposomic Research
October 23, 2023 | 1PM EDT

Neural Exposome Funding Opportunity Q&A Webinar
August 31, 2023 | 2PM EDT

Neuroscience 2022: The Neural Exposome and Why it's Important to You! | November 15, 2022; 6:30 pm PST


Related Topics 

Comparative Toxicogenomic Database (CTD)
The Comparative Toxicogenomic Database (CTD) launched in 2004 is a well-known publicly available resource for curated data on the linkage between human exposures and how they influence genes, biology, and human health.

NeurotoxKB provides information on potential neurotoxicants that is compiled and manually curated along with supporting evidence from published scientific studies.

Environmental Neuroscience Reports:
The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine Environmental Neuroscience: Advancing the Understanding of How Chemical Exposures Impact Brain Health and Disease: Proceedings of a Workshop 

Integrating the Science of Aging and Environmental Health Research: Proceedings of a Workshop