Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross Announces More than $480k for Research at Rowan University

Dec 11, 2019
News Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) have awarded a total of $483,000 in grants to Rowan University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) for research into mental health and cancer. 

“Important research is happening right here in our backyards in South Jersey,” said Congressman Norcross, a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor. “This funding will support critical research to help improve the quality of life of those suffering from anxiety disorders and advance treatment and find cures for some of the most devastating diseases of our time. I look forward to seeing the results of these grants and the positive impact Rowan University’s SOM’s research will have not only on our area but nationwide.”

Specifically, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine will receive:

  • $402,500 for mental health research on anxiety-like behavior.
  • $80,500 for cancer cause and prevention research to investigate nucleolar signaling in cancer.

“This project will help to reveal how two parallel brain circuits operate together to determine behavioral state. Our findings have already shown that one circuit promotes anxiety, while the other reduces it. In addition, traumatic stress seems to strengthen the pro-anxiety circuit and weaken the anti-anxiety circuit,” said Dr. Daniel Chandler, associate professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rowan University SOM. “This grant will allow us to explore genetic and physiological mechanisms for these responses to determine ways of bringing their function back into relative balance after a traumatic experience. This may one day help to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“Protecting DNA from damage is essential for survival of normal cells under different kinds of stress, including during treatments with anticancer therapeutics,” said Dr. Dimitri Pestov, associate professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rowan University SOM. “Our recent studies suggest that signals originating in the cell's nucleolus play an important role in reducing the extent of drug-induced cellular DNA damage. Through the proposed research, we hope to learn how to modulate cell resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs and thus improve the efficiency of cancer treatments.”

HHS is a federal agency created to provide effective health and human services and foster advances in medicine, public health and social services. The National Institute of Mental Health, an office of HHS, is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. The National Cancer Institute, an agency of HHS, is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training.

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Contact: Carrie Healey, Communications Director
carrie.healey@mail.house.gov

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