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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC Professor Awarded NIH Grant to Study Psychosocial Exposures, Epigenetic Impacts on Health

Dr. Allison Aiello, professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been awarded a five-year, $3.5 million National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities grant to investigate the influence of psychosocial experiences upon markers of health and disease for people in the U.S. Specifically, she and colleagues will examine the impact of psychosocial exposures upon people’s cardiometabolic and mental health.

Dr. Aiello will co-lead the project, “Add Health Epigenome Resource: Life-Course Stressors and Epigenomic Modifications in Adulthood,” with Dr. Kathleen Mullan Harris, James Haar Distinguished Professor of sociology and adjunct professor of public policy.

Both Drs. Aiello and Harris are faculty fellows at the Carolina Population Center.

Over the course of its funding, the grant will support the research of DNA methylation and gene expression relevant to life-course psychosocial stressors among participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health).

“This project will provide a novel resource for linking social and environmental exposures with human epigenomic alterations that may influence cardiometabolic and mental health conditions across the life course,” Dr. Aiello said.

The research team will produce and make available to the global scientific community an unprecedented epigenetic resource for studying how life-course exposures and epigenetic modifications lead to inequalities in health and disease.

It is the largest known nationally representative, racially and ethnically diverse, longitudinal study of young people.

[Photo: Dr. Allison Aiello]

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