July 1, 2007

Public Health Seed Money Research Program was initiated program to stimulate multi- and inter-disciplinary research and research that has a high likelihood of increasing future external support for research. Three projects were selected this year for funding and exemplify collaborative research exploring new areas of investigation. Upon completion of their studies, investigators will present their research findings at a College research symposium.

The Awardees and their research titles are listed below:

Title: Food availability, accessibility and affordability

Investigators: Elaine Anderson: Bonnie Braun

To illuminate community and family factors related to obesity and overweight status, this study will investigate the minimally documented area of "food insecurity" with a focus on inhabitants of low-income, rural areas. Two instruments aimed at assessing the relationship between food availability, accessibility and affordability in relation to household food security will be pilot tested for use in future studies of similar populations and settings. This multi-college study will be guided by two community-university advisory groups.

Title: Girls healthy dating relationship study

Investigators: Donna Howard, Brad Boekeloo, Ruth Fassinger, Elaine Aiken

The aim of this multi-disciplinary study involving both campus and community collaborators is to examine factors that shape adolescent girls' conceptualizations of healthy and harmful dating relationships. These relationships lay the foundation for intimacy and healthy sexuality into adulthood. Future plans include soliciting NIH and CDC support.

Title: Influence of physical activity ancestry on brain gene expression and cognitive function

Investigators: Stephen Roth Espen Spangenburg, Mary Jane Ottinger

This exploratory epigenetics study will address for the first time the potential influence of physical activity exposure on changes in DNA structure and brain development, specifically as it relates to cognitive function. By using an animal model, this study will test whether physical activity ancestry results in changes in DNA structure and whether those changes are passed on to offspring. This study will add to preliminary data that will be used to apply for a more comprehensive exploratory research NIH grant.

Congratulations to the awardees !!!

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