At the Hospitals: Oct. 11, 2015
Grant Will Help Geneticist Study How Behaviors May be Inherited
Hanover — Giovanni Bosco, an associate professor of genetics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, has been awarded a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The five-year Pioneer Award supports exceptional investigators pursuing bold, highly innovative research projects, Geisel said in a news release.
Bosco’s project began with the question: Can the social experiences of parents be inherited by their offspring?
“One of the most exciting findings of modern molecular genetics has been that the information encoded in our DNA cannot completely explain heritability of complex traits,” said Bosco, the project’s principal investigator. “We are rediscovering how a mind-body connection through cognitive experiences can have profound effects on physiology and health. However, the possibility that cognitive experiences, or state-of-mind, can contribute to heritability is relatively unexplored at the level of molecular genetics.”
The researchers will use fruit flies in their quest to discover the precise molecules and neuronal networks that connect the mind to the body, Geisel said. The insect “reproduces quickly and displays a complex suite of social behaviors that we know are analogous to human behavior.”
There’s no guarantee that anything useful will be learned from the speculative project, but if such trans-generational inheritance of behaviors exist, such as post-traumatic stress related behaviors and critical decisions about existential threats, and he argues they do, we must understand them at the molecular level, Bosco said. “I want to know how it works at the molecular level so we can break patterns of unhealthy behavior.”
“One of the fun and exciting things about this project is that people immediately get the implications, not only for health and society, but also from a philosophical standpoint. Just because we’ve inherited the baggage doesn’t mean we have to carry it,” he said. “I think it’s important to point out that the types of behaviors we are hypothesizing about are critical to the survival of one generation to the next.”
New London Hospital to Break Ground On New Newport Health Center
Newport — New London Hospital will hold the ground-breaking for a $9-million, 28,000-square foot clinic on a site where a bowling alley once stood at 4 p.m. on Oct. 13.
The new Newport Health Center will “provide high quality care that meets the current and future needs of the community,” the hospital’s chief executive Bruce King said in a news release.
Construction is expected to take 12 months. The existing 16,000-square-foot clinic on an adjacent site will continue to offer care until completion of the new facility, which will offer primary, pediatric, women’s health, podiatric, mental health and minor orthopedic care.
Other services at the new clinic will include mammography, X-rays, laboratory, EKGs, hearing and occupational health screenings, minor surgical procedures, rehabilitation and sports and state Transportation Department physicals.
New Employees Join HCRS
Springfield, Vt. — Several new employees have joined Health Care and Rehabilitation Services.
Sarah Baitz and Katelyn Golding, behavioral interventionists, have joined HCRS’ Hartford office. The following people have joined the nonprofit’s home office in Springfield: Lindsay Dean, residential specialist; Pamela MacNutt, office support generalist; Jeff Mobus, controller; Ronald Monson, case manager; Stephanie Mustopich, school-based clinician; Dana Petersen, children’s outpatient clinician; and Kevin Shoemaker, care coordinator.
— Compiled by Aimee Caruso