Tulane awarded $3.7 million to study osteoporosis, mental disease

Dr. Yu-Ping Wang

Dr. Yu-Ping Wang

Dr. Yu-Ping Wang, an associate professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has been awarded two grants totaling nearly $3.7 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Wang will use the money over the next five years to develop innovative statistical approaches to diagnosing and preventing osteoporosis and computational tools for identifying schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

The first grant, worth $1.6 million over five years, is from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, while the second grant is from the National Institute of Mental Health and valued at nearly $2.1 million over four years.

With the first grant, Dr. Wang and his team will use multi-scale genomic data to enable them to better interpret specific genetic risks for osteoporosis, search for potential drug targets and find new approaches for better prevention and treatment of the disease.

With the second, they will develop better methods of detecting biomarkers that can predict mental diseases. This will allow for improved diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Wang said the awards reflect the collaboration among the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the School of Science and Engineering (where Dr. Wang is also an associate professor of biomedical engineering), and the School of Medicine, all three of which will be involved in the research.

Wang, director of the Multiscale Bioimaging and Bioinformatics Lab and a program member of the Tulane Cancer Center, Neuroscience Program, and Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics, credited professor Donald Gaver, chair of biomedical engineering, and School of Science and Engineering Dean Nick Altiero for creating his position, which includes offices on the uptown campus and the health sciences campus downtown.

“Because of that we are able to immerse ourselves into a medical environment and marry science and engineering approaches with biomedical challenges,” he said. “Our interdisciplinary research now can make an impact on biomedicine and was recently featured in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News and Biocompare report.”

–Barri Bronston

Originally published in Tulane New Wave

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About Tulane University SPHTM

Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the oldest school of public health in the country and the only American school of tropical medicine. Our mission is to advance public health knowledge, promote health and well-being, and prevent disease, disability, and premature mortality. This is accomplished through academic excellence in education of public health professionals, rigorous scientific research of public health problems, creative partnerships to advance the practice of public health, and innovative service to the local, national, and international public health community.
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