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Pediatrics Lab Receives NIH Award

Aug. 4, 2017

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently notified Ryan S. Gray, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, that his proposal will be awarded a Research Project Grant (R01).

Gray’s four-year, $1.4 million award with the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) scored in the top 1 percent of NIH research grants this cycle, an outstanding achievement for an early-stage investigator.

Gray’s research focuses on improved understanding of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), a common pediatric musculoskeletal disease affecting about 2-3 percent of adolescents worldwide. Children with AIS can experience severe disfigurement, pain, psychosocial distress and lung dysfunction later in life. While most AIS cases do not require intervention, some require expensive corrective surgery with costs estimated at $3 billion each year in the United States alone.

The causes of AIS are largely unknown. Gray’s research has been at the forefront of discovery using animal models of the disease; his lab will apply modern genetic approaches to characterize the mutations that cause spine deformity.

About the Grant 

The R01 Research Project Grant is the NIH’s oldest grant program. It provides support for health-related research and development that aligns with the mission of the NIH.