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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Rutgers: Faculty Awarded Career Development Award

Rutgers School of Public Health assistant professor, Dr. Jesse Plascak, has been awarded a Career Development Award from the Center for Environmental Exposure and Disease to conduct a pilot study which will explore potential epigenetic causes of worse breast cancer outcomes for Black women in New Jersey.

The study’s primary goal is to assess the feasibility of generating epigenetic profiles from blood samples of New Jersey breast cancer survivors. Researchers will also explore variation in genetic DNA methylation by social environmental factors.

“DNA methylation acts like a light switch for our genes, turning them on and off based on various factors within and outside of our bodies,” said Dr. Plascak. “This pilot study will determine which genes to focus on in a larger study of social factors that might be responsible for flipping genetic switches that lead to worse breast cancer outcomes among Black women in New Jersey,” he added.

Dr. Plascak’s research seeks to better understand how social environment factors might influence cancer outcomes and whether those factors play a role in persistent cancer disparities by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography.

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