The top 6 NIH-funded research projects at UWM

Health-related research is one of the strengths of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Projects cover a wide range, from the unexpected benefits of exercise to an association between menopause and dementia. Here are UWM’s top active grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to dollar amounts.

African-Americans and breast cancer, $4.6 million

The incidence of breast cancer in African-Americans under age 50 is higher than for whites, but the reverse is true after age 50. And black women are more likely to die of the disease. What’s going on? Epidemiologist Ellen Velie is leading a study to find out why the disease has racial patterns by collecting data on environmental and lifestyle risks. Velie, who joined the Zilber School of Public Health in 2014, brought with her a slice of funding for one of the largest U.S. studies of breast cancer in African-Americans. It involves more than 3,000 women at sites in Detroit and Los Angeles.

Investigating an autism/air pollution link, $2.3 million

Could air pollution from traffic emissions play a role in whether a child develops autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? A team of investigators led by Amy Kalkbrenner in the Zilber School is beginning a study to further explore this connection. The researchers will examine genes important in detoxifying chemical exposures and helping protect children’s nervous systems as they grow. Researchers also will investigate what factors are involved in children who are diagnosed with both autism and ADHD. Autism occurs in 1 to 2 percent of children, while the prevalence of ADHD is estimated at 5 percent.

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