NYU Meyers receives NIH grant to establish the Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations

Aug. 16, 2018

The National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing a $1.9 million, five-year grant (1P20NR018075-01) to establish the NYU Meyers Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations.

The goal of the new center is to develop a team of nurse scientists dedicated to studying metabolic syndrome and related chronic conditions, their biological mechanisms and modifiable risk factors, and the best interventions to reduce or eliminate the burden of multiple chronic conditions in diverse, vulnerable adult populations.

“Research that expands our understanding of biomarkers, lifestyle, contextual, and environmental impacts on metabolic syndrome and related multiple chronic conditions among diverse populations is critically needed,” said Gail D’Eramo Melkus, associate dean for research at NYU Meyers and the contact co-principal investigator for the Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations.

Metabolic syndrome is a set of interrelated health conditions present in roughly 35% of the U.S. population that puts individuals at serious risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and obesity are common factors that comprise metabolic syndrome.

Both genetics and the environment play a role in metabolic syndrome and related chronic conditions. Causes of metabolic syndrome include genetic susceptibility, family history, low education and socioeconomic status, increased body mass index, a lack of regular physical activity, poor diet, smoking, and substance use.

Precision health, which embraces a personalized, tailored approach to health by considering the factors unique to an individual, is emerging as a strategy for preventing and managing chronic diseases, and will be the focus of the Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations.

The NINR awards these types of grants—called P20 or exploratory grants—to support centers focused on building research expertise and teams for the future. The funding supports shared resources and several small exploratory research projects conducted by investigators focused on a common research theme.

The infrastructure for the new center will include four cores: An administrative core (co-directed by Melkus and Jacquelyn Taylor, the Vernice D. Ferguson Chair of Health Equity at NYU Meyers and co-principal investigator for the Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations), a pilot project administrative core (directed by Victoria Dickson and co-directed by Bradley Aouizerat), a precision technology resource core (directed by Allison Vorderstrasse and co-directed by Winslow Burleson), and an enrichment program (directed by Abraham Brody). Lloyd Goldsamt is the center’s director of evaluation.

Two pilot projects, led by Susan Malone and Fay Wright, will examine the symptoms and biomarkers of metabolic syndrome related to sleep duration and fatigue.

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