Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Rutgers to Use $2.4M Grant to Search for Genes Linked to Suicide Risk

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Rutgers Cell and DNA Repository, or RUCDR, has landed a $2.4 million grant from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine to study mental health risk among service men and women.

The Rutgers University researchers plan to use the award to study the genomes of service members who are considered at risk for suicide and other mental health issues, the university said Saturday.

The project is part of the US Army's Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers initiative, or Army STARRS, which is examining the lives and mental health of 55,000 active duty soldiers. Blood samples from the participants have already been collected and stored in the RUCDR.

Rutgers said that military suicide rates have historically been lower than in civilian populations, but "since 2002 the suicide rates among soldiers have increased significantly," and increased by 80 percent between 2004 and 2008.

The STARRS project, which launched in 2009, seeks to determine why some soldiers are at increased risk for suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, and why others are more resilient to chronic stress.

"Determining whether there is a genetic predisposition to these mental health disorders is crucial to decreasing the risk of suicide and PTSD in our soldiers," Rutgers Professor Jay Tischfield, director of the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, said in a statement. "This award may help shed light on the biological basis of these mental health risks."

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.