Researchers Discuss Focus of Recently Awarded Studies

Kirk Personius, PhD, PTassociate professor of physical therapy, is beginning work on his project, “T Regulatory Cell Responses in Toxoplasma-infected Muscle.” The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health

“Skeletal muscle is a highly regenerative tissue that can easily repair itself when damaged. However, it’s not clear how a chronic infection can alter the ability of the skeletal muscle to repair. Our recent findings showed that chronic infection actually impairs the ability of the muscle to repair itself. This study will explore how chronic infection impacts the repair process in muscle. These findings could provide insight into how infection in muscle can lead to loss of muscle function and the potential for therapeutic interventions.”

Riana Pryor, PhD, ATC.

Riana Pryor, PhD, ATC, assistant professor, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, received a K01 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for her project “Short- and Long-term Health Consequences of Workers During Consecutive Days of Heat Stress.”

Portrait of Assistant Professor Jennifer Temple in her Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Lab in Farber Hall Photograph: Douglas Levere.
Gregory Wilding, PhD, chair, Department of Biostatistics, University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Jennifer Temple, PhD, professor, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and Gregory Wilding, chair and professor, Department of Biostatistics, received R01 funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/NIH for their study “The Role of Food Insecurity and Sensitization in Excess Weight Gain in Adolescents from Low to Moderate Income Households.”

“Children from food-insecure households are at higher risk for overweight, obesity and other chronic disease; more research is needed to identify and characterize individual, behavioral and environmental factors that underlie these relationships. This study will examine a novel behavioral phenotype—sensitization to repeated intake of snack food—and its relationship with food insecurity, body weight and weight change over time in a cohort of adolescents from moderate- to low-income families. We will also examine the impact of family dynamics of food insecurity and neighborhood and home food environment on the relationship between sensitization and weight change over time.”

Lina Mu.
Meng Wang.

Lina Mu, PhD, MD, assistant professor, both Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, and Meng Wang, PhD, have received funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/National Institutes of Health for their project “Air Pollution, Coronary Events, Atherosclerotic Progression in a Susceptible Population.”

“Atherosclerosis is the most common form of coronary heart disease (CHD), constituting 17.5 million deaths worldwide annually. Although air pollution is known to increase the risk of CHD mortality, little evidence exists about the impact of air pollution on CHD morbidity and progression. Our study will rely on a cohort of patients with atherosclerosis in Beijing, China, and focuses on three activities: 1) to determine the impact of air pollution exposure on CHD events and mortality; 2) to investigate the effects of exposure to air pollution on atherosclerosis progression and high-risk plaque formation characterized by computed tomography angiography; 3) to examine the effects of air pollution on biological markers of inflammation pathways. Findings from this study will not only extend scientific knowledge on air pollution and CHD physiopathology but will also provide information to guide public policy and inform clinical management for individuals at-risk of CHD.”

Environmental Portrait of Social & Preventive Medicine Research Associate Professor John Violanti.

John Violanti, PhD, research professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, is principal investigator on a $1.2 million, two-year study funded by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) called “A Longitudinal Examination of Mental and Physical Health among Police Associated with COVID-19.”

“How persons in authoritative positions such as law enforcement address disasters like COVID-19 is a matter of concern because it not only affects the people they serve but also themselves. Police officers need to remain healthy and be ready to perform at their peak during such crises. Societal challenges such as COVID-19 contribute to increased physical and psychological stress overload. This research addresses the harmful effects on the psychological and physical health of officers prior to and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Information gained from this study will show the harmful effects of COVID-19 on officers and alert police agencies to initiate policy to help reduce the stress.”

Occupation Under Siege: Resolving Mental Health Crises in Law Enforcement.

Violanti’s newest book, “Occupation Under Siege: Resolving Mental Health Crises in Law Enforcement,”  was published late last year by Charles C. Thomas Publishing Ltd. The volume brings to the forefront the realization that a successful police career involves not only surviving the danger involved in policing but also psychological survival. It’s available at