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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

University at Buffalo Epidemiologist Awarded Funding to Study Role of Microbiome in Breast Cancer

An epidemiologist at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions is among nine scientists from across New York State awarded funding for breast cancer research as part of an initiative of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Dr. Jo Freudenheim, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and environmental health in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, was awarded $359,024 through the governor’s “Get Screened, No Excuses” initiative aimed at increasing public awareness and availability of resources for breast cancer screening and treatment.

Gov.Cuomo announced nearly $3 million in breast cancer research grants on Sept. 12. “Breast cancer affects thousands of people across this state and in order to provide New Yorkers with the best care, these investments will support the brilliant minds studying, teaching and researching at our colleges, universities and medical schools,” he said.

Dr. Freudenheim was among seven researchers awarded Peter T. Rowley Breast Cancer Scientific Research Projects funding totaling $2.4 million. Two other researchers received Patricia S. Brown Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Education Research Projects funding totaling just over $500,000. The state department of health approved the researchers’ funding proposals.

“The grant will allow us to examine the role of the microbiome in breast cancer,” Dr. Freudenheim said.

Her project collaborators include Dr. Michael Buck, associate professor of biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Dr. Yijun Sun, associate professor of bioinformatics in the Jacobs School; Dr. Robert Genco, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology, Periodontics and Microbiology, School of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Meeghan Lautner, clinical assistant professor of surgery in the Jacobs School.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in New York State, according to the governor’s office. Each year, more than 15,000 women in New York State are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and approximately 2,500 die from the disease. Screening for breast cancer can increase the likelihood of identifying cancer at an early stage when treatment is most successful.