Connecting research to society

Bas Heijmans receives major U.S. funding for Hunger Winter Study

13 December 2011 Author: Molepi - Molecular Epidemiology

Dr. Bas Heijmans has received $ 827,000 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his work on famine children. Previously, he showed that mothers who were pregnant during the famine in World War II, had children with permanent changes in their DNA.

Disruption of fat and sugar metabolism
With this grant Heijmans can map such epigenetic changes in a systematic manner and scale mapping. Moreover, he hopes the first to find convincing evidence that such changes actually underlie the disruption of the fat and sugar metabolism as reflected in middle aged famine children.

Hunger Winter Family Study
This NIH grant will be used to map the epigenetic state of the DNA of famine children by measuring half a million sites in the DNA. Heijmans will also use the grant to staff personnel to analyze the comprehensive database. The grant is paid as part of the comprehensive NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program. This program aims to clarify the role of epigenetic mechanisms in health and disease. The study is a collaboration with Dr. Bertie Lumey from Columbia University in New York, who initiated the Hunger Winter Family Study.