Dr. Ryan Irvin

Marguerite “Ryan” Irvin, PhD, MS, Professor of Epidemiology, has received an Emerging Investigator Award (R35) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Irvin is the first investigator from the UAB School of Public Health and third at UAB overall to receive this award. The award will provide over $6 million dollars over a period of seven years to evaluate genetic risk scores that can help predict personal risk for cardiovascular and renal diseases as well as African Americans’ treatment responses to common antihypertensive therapies. The study will specifically test existing scores developed in other ethnic groups and create new and hopefully better performing scores for comparison.

This award leverages both infrastructure and expertise in the School of Public Health, including the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study (REGARDS) study, the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), and the Antihypertensive and Lipid Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT). The project seeks to provide new information that will hopefully move genomic medicine forward, especially in African Americans who are underrepresented in genomics research. The project will also strive to create new research opportunities for students, postdoctoral fellows, and new investigators.

The purpose of the NHLBI R35 Program is to promote scientific productivity and innovation by providing long-term support and increased flexibility to experienced Principal Investigators (PIs) who are currently PIs on at least two NHLBI R01-equivalent awards and whose outstanding record of research demonstrate their ability to make major contributions to heart, lung, blood and sleep research. The R35 is intended to support a research program, rather than a research project, by providing the primary and most likely sole source of NHLBI funding on individual grant awards.

Dr. Irvin credits this opportunity to contributions from several individuals and teams, including Dr. Hemant Tiwari, Vinodh Srinivasasainagendra and Amit Patki, the Department of Epidemiology’s administrative staff, including Carol Mayes and Maureen Harbin, as well as colleagues from the REGARDS Study, including Drs. George Howard, Virginia Howard and Suzanne Judd, Leslie Lange from the Jackson Heart Study, and Dr. Donna Arnett from ALLHAT/GenHAT. Dr. Irvin also serves as Program Director of the PhD in Epidemiology Program.

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