Research at Rollins

  michael windle

Michael Windle

Alcohol Abuse in Young Adults

The face of alcoholism has changed drastically. What was once viewed as a disease affecting middle-aged, blue-collar, white males now reflects a diverse group of young adults, male and female.

Because binge drinking in young adults is such an important factor in the development of alcohol abuse and dependency, these disorders are more prevalent in young adulthood than in middle age or older adulthood. Although the rate of alcoholism begins to decrease around age 25, the damage from abuse can be long term.

Michael Windle, Rollins Professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, received an NIH Research Scientist Award (K05) of $1.03 million to continue his 23 years of research examining the impact of alcohol abuse and disorders across the lifespan. He is the first researcher at Rollins and one of five at Emory to obtain a K05 award.

Over the next five years, Windle and his team will more closely study the implications of patterns of alcohol use and abuse on adulthood. They also will examine earlier predictors such as the social, genetic, and environmental contributors to alcohol-related behaviors.

"Waiting until someone has liver disease is too late," says Windle. "If we look at how such behaviors fit into lifelong patterns, we can develop specifically targeted interventions that are more beneficial and yield positive results for health and well-being."

  Dubois Bowman

DuBois Bowman

Biomarkers of Parkinson’s Disease

DuBois Bowman, associate professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics, is part of the national Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program, a new NIH initiative. Through this program, researchers will develop new technologies and analysis tools for biomarker discovery, identify and validate biomarkers in patients, and share biomarker data and resources across the Parkinson’s community.

Bowman’s group is among nine U.S. research teams funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Funded by a $900,000 grant, his team will develop statistical tools to analyze data from brain imaging and genetic, molecular, and clinical tests to determine which combinations of biomarkers can better predict Parkinson’s than a single biomarker. His project is associated with the Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research at Emory. Bowman also directs the Center for Biomedical Imaging Statistics at Rollins.

  Jessica Sales

Jessica Sales

Better Sexual Health for Teens

The Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health, part of Emory School of Medicine, is partnering with Rollins and the Grady Health System Teen Services Clinic to improve the use of "dual protection" in young African American females. By choosing dual protection, teens can prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV.

Melissa Kottke, director of the Jane Fonda Center, and Jessica Sales, research assistant professor of behavioral sciences and health education in the RSPH, are co-principal investigators of the project, funded by a five-year $3.2 million grant from the CDC. Researchers plan to enroll at least 700 women, ages 15 to 19, and follow them for a year after they participate in a clinic-based intervention.

"One of the most exciting aspects of this project is that it merges the best of health behavior research and clinical services," says Sales. "It will be rewarding to see the impact of providing cutting-edge clinical care coupled with what we’ve seen can work from behavior change models."

Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Task Force for Global Health, a longtime partner of Rollins, received a five-year, $28.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center to close gaps in research to control and eliminate NTDs and quickly translate findings into policy.

News of the grant coincided with a vote by the WHO executive board to recommend that the World Health Assembly adopt a resolution at its May 2013 meeting to control or eliminate all 17 NTDs by 2020.

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