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Environmental Factor, December 2012

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NIEHS Epidemiology Branch receives grant from Avon Foundation

By Bhargavi Rao

Hazel Nichols, Ph.D. presents a check to Marc Hurlbert, Ph.D.

Nichols, left, holds the mock check presented to NIEHS by Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade Executive Director Marc Hurlbert, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Avon Foundation)

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

It was still dark on the morning of Oct. 27 when participants began their fund raising trek through downtown Charlotte. (Photo courtesy of Avon Foundation)

NIEHS epidemiologist Hazel Nichols, Ph.D., was in Charlotte, N.C., to receive an oversized mock check for $270,000 from the Avon Foundation, to support the Institute’s breast cancer research efforts.

The money is part of proceeds from the 8th annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer held Oct. 27-28 in Charlotte — the last of nine Avon Walks this year. The event, which attracted more than 900 participants from 36 states and Washington, D.C., raised more than $1.75 million for breast cancer research and awareness. NIEHS received the largest research grant awarded at the event. 

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Nichols and her colleagues in the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch, led by Dale Sandler, Ph.D., will use the grant to better understand the role that factors, such as reproductive hormones, central adiposity, and oxidative stress, play in breast health in premenopausal women. The study will involve a cohort of 1,500 participants from the larger NIEHS-led Sister Study, and will examine the use of biomarkers in serum and urine to predict cancer development and progression.

When asked about the goals of the project, Nichols said, “The focus is really on indicators of risk that can be measured in premenopausal women.”

(Bhargavi Rao, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis.)

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