Kansas City,
03
September
2020
|
16:48 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

Dr. Grundberg Receives $3.2 Million NIH Grant to Study Social Stress, Epigenetics and Their Link to Viral Infection and Asthma

Elin Grundberg, PhD, Genomics, was recently awarded a 5-year, $3,211,673 R01 Research Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Dr. Grundberg’s study, "Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Chronic Stress-Induced Asthma in Children by Population and Single-Cell Epigenomics Approaches," will examine how exposure to psychosocial factors such as chronic stress is linked to pathophysiology of asthma.

“Asthma is a severe chronic illness in childhood triggered by viral infections (most commonly Rhinovirus) and with significant racial and ethnic disparities where African-American and Hispanic children are more likely to have a diagnosis of asthma and significantly higher asthma-related morbidity in comparisons with non-Hispanic white children,” Dr. Grundberg said. “Genetic factors alone or in combination with differences in environment exposures or lifestyle are important but have not been able to fully explain observed disparities."

Dr. Grundberg hypothesizes that social disadvantages during childhood result in long-lasting epigenetic alterations in key regulatory regions impacting immune cell gene function that negatively impacts antiviral defense and subsequently increase the risk of asthma.

The study will use high-resolution epigenetic approaches at population and single-cell level to reveal epigenetic changes in immune cells predicting antiviral response and development of asthma. The goal is to combine population-based epigenome mapping in nasal mucosal samples with single immune cell analysis in large pediatric asthma cohorts of African American children with detailed information about asthma and viral status as well as chronic stress exposures of several domains.

“We have established a team of leading allergist, social scientist, epigeneticists, microbiologist and population geneticists leveraging multi-disciplinary expertise and resources to gain detailed insight into asthma pathophysiology as a consequence of chronic stress.,” said Dr. Grundberg. “Overall, our program will provide new insight into how genes and the social environment combine to influence heterogeneity in the response to environmental stressors and contribute to the health disparity seen in children with asthma.”

Co-investigators from Children’s Mercy include Tomi Pastinen, MD, PhD, Rangaraj Selvarangan, PhD, Mary Moffatt, MD, and Bridgette Jones, MD, MSCR.

Summary

Elin Grundberg, PhD, Genomics, was recently awarded a 5-year, $3,211,673 R01 Research Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

About Us

Children’s Mercy Kansas City is an independent, non-profit, 386-bed pediatric health system, providing over half a million patient encounters each year for children from across the country. Children’s Mercy is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in nine specialties. We have received Magnet® recognition five times for excellence in nursing services. In affiliation with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, our faculty of more than 800 pediatric specialists and researchers is actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research and educating the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. The Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI) integrates research and clinical care with nationally recognized expertise in genomic medicine, precision therapeutics, population health and health care innovation. In 2021 the CMRI moved into a nine-story, 375,000-square-foot space emphasizing a translational approach to research in which clinicians and researchers work together to accelerate the pace of discovery that enhances care.