Mason researchers join NIH grant to investigate early life environmental exposures

Children's Health

Rosemary Higgins, Associate Dean for Research, College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), and Germaine Buck Louis, Dean, CHHS, received $1,457,607 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for: “ECHO Consortium on Perinatal Programming of Neurodevelopment.” This project is part of NIH’s Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program.

The overall objective of this project is to leverage the existing cohort infrastructure to prospectively investigate the role of early life exposures and underlying biological mechanisms in childhood health and disease.

CHHS will serve as a subcontractor for this project, with time/effort devoted to the consenting and additional follow up for approximately 3,000 participants at the end of the award period, as well as conducting clinic visits and associated sample acquisition for each participant. Drs. Higgins and Louis will initially lead efforts in support of this project. ECHO principal investigator is Dr. Kathi Huddleston, Research Associate Professor, School of Nursing.

The Population Health Center at Peterson Hall in CHHS recently opened and provides an ideal environment to conduct the longer term follow up for the ECHO study participants. The experience the researchers have in the area of longitudinal cohorts will enable them to develop the ECHO cohort over the next four years.

Funding for this project began in December 2019 and will conclude in late August 2020.

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