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Researcher receives NIH grant to study patient recruitment and consent in tissue donation

Nationally recognized expert on decision-making in organ and tissue donation Laura Siminoff, Ph.D., received a $283,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to support her contribution to the NIHs newly launched Genotype-Tissue Expression Project.

The Genotype-Tissue Expression Project is designed to understand how genetic variation may control gene activity and its relationship to disease. It will generate data about how gene expression is regulated in different organs in the human body, which will then serve as a resource for researchers across the country to study inherited susceptibility to illness and establish a tissue bank for biological studies down the road.

Through a partnership with the National Disease Research Interchange, Siminoff, Theresa A. Thomas Memorial Foundation Chair in Cancer Prevention and Control at VCU Massey Cancer Center and professor and chair of the VCU Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will serve as a principal investigator on the project to examine the ethical, legal and social issues related to donor recruitment and consent.

Siminoff and her team hope to determine how to consent families and patients in socially and ethically acceptable ways that will maximize the diversity of tissues in the biobank repository and still be sensitive to the cultural and ethical requirements for informed consent by biobank participants, including the need for privacy and confidentiality.

The National Disease Research Interchange, which is funded by the NIH, is a national human tissue center. Established in 1980, the NDRI was designed to provide scientists with the human tissue necessary to study human systems and human disease.

Written by: Massey Communications Office

Posted on: January 19, 2011

Category: Center news & funding