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UT leads $2.5 million training program in pioneering area of genetic research
Date:1/9/2009

A consortium led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has received a $2.5 million award to train investigators in a ground-breaking area of genetic study known as gene-environment interaction.

Scientists studying gene-environment interaction are trying to discover why some people with known risk factors for disease get sick and others don't. The answer may have to do with the interplay between their genes and environmental factors such as exposure to viruses, pollution or cigarette smoke.

The consortium, which also includes The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, earned a 2009 Institutional Program Unifying Population and Laboratory Based Sciences Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing biomedical sciences. It is one of three awards from a proposal pool of 61.

"This is an achievement for the Texas Medical Center," said C. Thomas Caskey, M.D., award co-director and director/CEO of The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM), a part of the UT Health Science Center at Houston. "It speaks to the quality of research in the Texas Medical Center and the collaboration among institutions." The five-year-award starts Feb. 2.

Gene-environment interaction is the combined impact of genetic susceptibility factors and modifiable environmental factors on disease. Genetic variations, according to the National Office of Public Health Genomics, do not cause disease but rather influence a person's susceptibility to environmental factors, broadly defined to include infectious, chemical, physical, nutritional and behavioral factors.

"This is the type of cutting edge, interdisciplinary program that will help bring the best and brightest young scientists to Houston because they can receive the training of the future that integrates population, laboratory, and informa
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Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3042
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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