Crisco, DPH announce biomedical research grants

Joseph Crisco Jr.

HARTFORD — A total of $943,004 was recently awarded by the Connecticut Department of Public Health for biomedical research into diseases associated with tobacco use and other chronic illnesses.

State Sen. Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17) and the Department of Public Health recently  announced the recipients of the state funding, which will support three research projects conducted by researchers from the University of Connecticut, UConn Health Center, and Yale University.

“These grants awarded (Jan. 6) — part of an annual program to help underwrite cutting edge, health-related research — are consistent with what seems to be a growing and accelerating emphasis on comparable projects in Connecticut,” Crisco said in a news release. “We have recently agreed to invest in an overhaul of the UConn Health Center and provide economic development funding for Jackson Labs. It’s gratifying to know Connecticut will continue setting the pace in health-related research throughout the foreseeable future.”

The projects will explore detecting specific smoking-induced changes in the colon that will enable medical professionals to identify patients at increased risk of developing colorectal cancers; whether chokeberry extract containing antioxidant polyphenols will have cardio-protective effects in former smokers who are susceptible to atherosclerosis development due to previous exposure of smoking-induced oxidative stress; and the development and testing of a novel approach to measure beta cell death in vivo, which is not now possible but would have important implications for treatment of diabetes.

“These projects were selected from a field of highly competitive applications received in response to a request for proposals issued by the department last spring,” stated Department of Public Health Deputy Commissioner Lisa Davis in a news release. “The funds made available through the Biomedical Research Trust Fund represent an investment in Connecticut-based research that is providing new insight into how to treat and prevent leading causes of death and disability.”