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Paige Lawrence Receives New R01 Grant from NIEHS

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dr. Paige Lawrence, professor in the departments of Environmental Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology has received a new R01 grant from the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), entitled Transgenerational exposures as modifiers of host defense against infection.

Along with UR Collaborators Steve Gill, Ph.D. and Sally Thurston, Ph.D., this project will explore exposure to pollutants can cause transgenerational changes in biological processes and contribute to disease. Since very little of this research has focused on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of changes in immune function, the proposed research will direct address this deficit, and will study how a family of common pollutants perturbs the development and function of the immune system across generations.

The objective of this project is to define key parameters involved in transgenerational inheritance of alterations in the function of the mammalian immune system that occur as a result of environmental exposure. The immune system is fundamentally important to public and individual health, and even slight modifications in its function can have a profoundly negative impact on health and disease. For instance, influenza virus infections pose significant global health threats, infecting over 1 billion people annually. Evidence points to prenatal and early life exposure to pollutants as overlooked contributors to poorer clinical outcomes following influenza and other respiratory infections.