Sponsored Research Funding Highlights

FY 2021

During FY21, CPHHS faculty submitted 142 research proposals and received a total of $18,135,866 in sponsored grants and contracts.

Although the majority of our sponsored research is funded by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Education, our diverse funding portfolio also includes numerous awards from industry, private foundations, and non-profit organizations.

Below are examples of notable awards received in FY 2021. These awards represent the college’s diverse disciplines and reflect our commitment to embrace innovative approaches and methods, conduct both basic and applied research with diverse populations, and promote interdisciplinary collaboration. Findings from these research projects have the potential to impact population health in Oregon and beyond.


Notable grants in FY 2021 include


The Role of Leptin in Inflammation-Driven Bone Loss

Funded by the National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases, National Institutes for Health; $1,855,760 for five years

Led by PI Urszula Iwaniec, Professor

Strong preliminary evidence indicates that leptin influences bone metabolism, both positively and negatively. The goal of this research study is to understand how leptin influences bone metabolism by testing the hypothesis that leptin signaling by immune cells is necessary for normal bone growth, maturation and turnover, but that in the presence of chronic inflammation, leptin signaling by immune cells promotes net bone loss.


Effectiveness and Scalability of a Home Health Navigator Program to Reduce Environmental Hazards

Funded by the National Institute on Environmental Health Science, National Institutes for Health; $1,249,732 for four years

Led by PIs Molly Kile, Associate Professor; and Veronica Irvin, Associate Professor

Approximately 34 million Americans rely on private wells to supply their drinking water. Although toxic chemicals that increase the risk of several chronic diseases are frequently detected in drinking water provided by private wells, the majority of private well users do not test their well water or remediate detected hazards. This study brings together university-based researchers, state and local agencies, and Extension Services to produce a private well safety intervention program that will be tested and modified through empirical research. The project has the potential to reduce health disparities in rural America that are related to a household’s source of drinking water.


Coast to Forest Hub: Community Resources to Promote Mental Health and Reduce Opioid and Stimulant Use Disorders in Rural Oregon

Funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; $1,100,000 for two years

Led by PIs Allison Myers, Director, OSU Center for Health Innovation; and Marion Ceraso, Associate Professor of Practice

The Coast to Forest initiative is a collaboration between the OSU Extension Family and Community Health Program and the OSU Center for Health Innovation. The focus of the initiative is on mental health promotion and substance misuse prevention. The program will provide training, tools and technical assistance for all Oregon Extension faculty and their community partners to prevent opioid and stimulant use disorders and move communities to recovery. Monitoring and evaluating will be conducted, and results will be presented to policymakers and other important audiences.


Built Environment Assessment through Computer VisiON (BEACON): Applying Deep Learning to Street-Level and Satellite Images to Estimate Built Environment Effects on Cardiovascular Health

Funded by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc. for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health; $942,482 for five years

Led by PI Perry Hystad, Associate Professor

Over 80% of the U.S. population resides in urban areas. This built environment, including the buildings, streets and green spaces in which we live, may drive cardiovascular disease (cvd) by promoting or limiting physical activity and weight gain, and by influencing exposures to environmental factors (e.g., air pollution, extreme temperatures and noise). This study will identify the influence of the built environment on cvd health behaviors and cvd incidence by developing built environment exposure measures from deep learning algorithms and applying these exposure measures to time-activity data from participants with global positioning systems data. This research will yield actionable insights to guide land use policy and urban planning strategies to design cities that optimize cardiovascular health.


Follow-Up Colonoscopy Among Federally Qualified Health Center Patients: Assessing Organizational Characteristics and Policies of Gastroenterology Practices

Funded by the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for the National Cancer Institute Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, National Institutes for Health; $431,272 for three years

Led by PI Cynthia Mojica, Assistant Professor

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Although early screening and follow-up are crucial, their rates are very low, resulting in many preventable deaths. This study focuses much-needed attention on gastroenterology practices and how organizational structures and processes are associated with follow-ups and time-to-colonoscopy completion. Findings will inform the development of an effective strategy to decrease CRC cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality among medically underserved populations.


Exploratory Use of Stable Mercury Isotopes to Distinguish Dietary Sources of Methylmercury and Their Relation to Neurodevelopment

Funded by the National Institute on Environmental Health Science, National Institutes for Health; $436,088 for two years

Led by PI Sarah Rothenberg, Associate Professor

This study will measure the exposure of methylmercury in fish and rice consumption using hair samples from mothers and their offspring. Half of the world's population subsists on rice. It is critical to develop biomarkers that can discern whether methylmercury exposure occurs through rice or fish ingestion, in order to investigate the effects of methylmercury on child development. This research presents a unique opportunity to test a non-invasive biomarker that distinguishes methylmercury intake from rice versus fish and has less measurement error than traditional methods.


Evaluating and Applying Google Timeline Location Data for Built Environment and Physical Activity Research

Funded by the National Institute on Environmental Health Science, National Institutes for Health; $424,642 for two years

Led by PI Perry Hystad, Associate Professor

Built environments directly influence health, for example through air pollution and noise exposures, and indirectly influence health through changing health-related behaviors, for which physical activity is a major contributor. This study will develop and evaluate methods to derive built environment exposures from Google Location History Timeline (GTL) data. It will also develop approaches to assess physical activity from GTL data, providing a completely novel and objective measure of physical activity levels, and evaluate associations between built environment exposures and physical activity levels. If the study is successful in developing and evaluating methods to use GTL data for epidemiological research, these methods will completely revolutionize how we study built environment influences on human health.


Can High Pressure Processing of Donor Milk Improve Lipid Absorption and Growth in Preterm Infants Compared with Holder Pasteurization

Funded by the Gerber Foundation; $349,993 for three years

Led by PIs David Dallas, Assistant Professor; and Yanming Di, Associate Professor in the OSU College of Science

This study, implemented in partnership with Oregon Health & Science University, will determine the extent to which high pressure processing (HPP) treatment of donor milk can improve lipid digestion and absorption, improve infant growth rates, and impact other clinical outcomes in high-risk preterm infants. The research will provide evidence to immediately guide changes in the processing of donor milk at U.S. and global milk banks. These changes will have the potential to improve preterm infant lipid digestion and absorption for those who require donor human milk feeding, and thereby improve growth and development of very preterm infants, which is closely linked to neurodevelopmental outcomes.


Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-level Coronavirus Epidemics (TRACE) Research Study

Funded by the Oregon Health Authority, $300,000 for one year

Led by PI Javier Nieto, Professor and Dean, in partnership with the OSU Colleges of Engineering and Science

TRACE-COVID-19 is a public health project that gathers timely information to inform measures to slow the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2 and to minimize the disease’s impact. Using a community-based approach, this study researches the effectiveness of using wastewater-based epidemiology for assessing the prevalence of the coronavirus in communities across Oregon.