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University of Oregon Professor Wins $12.5 Million Research Grant


A University of Oregon professor has received a $12.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research effects of environmental exposure on children’s health and development.

Leslie Leve, who is a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services in the College of Education, will head a team of researchers to lead the second phase of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program, an initiative of NIH.

The researchers will examine various health parameters by analyzing environment data and collect biospecimens and behavioral data from 1,000 children and their families.

“This is a landmark NIH initiative and will serve as the U.S.’s flagship study of children’s behavioral and physical health by studying families from infancy or prenatally through childhood and adolescence,” Leve said.

Launched two years ago, the ECHO initiative involves combining data of more than 50,000 children from diverse backgrounds with more than 30 studies countrywide.

This study takes interdisciplinary science to a whole new level. We’re collecting many different types of biomarkers so that researchers can start to look at not only the genetics and hormonal contributions to behavior but the chemical exposures, the timing of those exposures and how the home environment and child-rearing practices can play a protective or harmful role when such exposures occur,” Leve added.

Along with Leve, a professor from Pennsylvania State University and George Washington University will also work as principal investigators for the collaborative study.