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NIH Genes, Environment and Health Initiative Awards $5.5M to Six New Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health’s Genes, Environment, and Health Initiative has awarded an estimated $5.5 million in grants to six new studies, NIH announced today.
Projects receiving the two-year grants are genome-wide association studies aimed at uncovering the genetic factors behind conditions such as stroke, glaucoma, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, and other conditions. All of the 27 institutes and centers within NIH contributed funding for the studies.
NIH kicked off the Genes, Environment, and Health Initiative, or GEI, in 2006 and granted its first awards under the program in 2007.
GEI projects already underway include six genome-wide association studies under the National Human Genome Research Institute, two studies that are being managed by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and a study on wearable sensors and technology for measuring exposure to environmental agents that is being done under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
“This initiative will yield valuable information about the biological pathways that lead to health and disease and about how genetic variants, environmental factors, and behavioral choices interact to influence disease risk,” Alan Guttmacher, acting director of the NHGRI, said in a statement. “Such information is vital to our efforts to develop more personalized approached to health care.”
The newest awardees are:
  • Johns Hopkins University researcher Kathleen Barnes, $1.2 million for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, GWAS on environmental interactions in lung health;
  • University of Texas researcher Myriam Fornage, $1.1 million, GWAS of longitudinal blood pressure profiles between young adulthood and middle-age;
  • University of Southern California researcher Christopher Haiman, $210,000, multi-ethnic, genome-wide prostate cancer scan;
  • John Heit, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, $1.1 million, GWAS on blood clots in veins;
  • University of Maryland researcher Braxton Mitchell, $1.1 million, study on genetic stroke risk in smokers and non-smokers in two ethnic groups; and
  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School researcher Louis Pasquale, $850,000, genes and environment study on glaucoma.

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