Gov. Cuomo awards UB epidemiologist funding for breast cancer research

$359,000 grant will allow Jo Freudenheim and collaborators to examine the role of the microbiome in breast cancer

Release Date: September 12, 2018

Photo of UB researcher Jo Freudenheim.

Jo Freudenheim, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of epidemiology and environmental health

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A University at Buffalo epidemiologist 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.

Jo Freudenheim, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of epidemiology and environmental health in UB’s 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.

Cuomo announced nearly $3 million in breast cancer research grants on Wednesday.

“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.

Freudenheim, PhD, 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,” Freudenheim said.

Freudenheim’s project collaborators include Michael Buck, associate professor of biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Yijun Sun, associate professor of bioinformatics in the Jacobs School; Robert Genco, SUNY Distinguished Professor of oral biology, periodontics and microbiology, School of Dental Medicine; and Meeghan Lautner, clinical assistant professor of surgery in the Jacobs School and a physician with UBMD Surgery.

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, over 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.

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