The National Institutes of Health has given a $3.5 million grant to Penn State College of Medicine's Dr. Daniel Notterman to study the influence of social environments on genetic characteristics, which could have importance to the emerging field of so-called “personalized medicine,” according to the college.
Notterman, a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as the midstate college's vice dean for research and graduate studies, will be studying two genetic characteristics in children and adolescents over time. The research could give a better understanding of genetic development and health and how those are influenced by a person's stress and environment.
Understanding how environment, health and genes interact could help doctors tailor treatments to patients for a more focused and efficient solution to health problems. Notterman's research is contributing to the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a national undertaking with Princeton and Columbia universities.
Notterman is co-author of a recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that showed links between genetic variations that control dopamine — a behavior-regulating chemical in the brain — in mothers and how they respond to their children during economic stress.
Penn State College of Medicine is located at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Derry Township, Dauphin County.