See Major Medical Studies Getting Funded At The University Of Rhode Island

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI — Researchers from the University of Rhode Island will share more than $165,000 in funding from the Rhode Island Foundation to promote medical research projects.

The work ranges from a study that will look at whether healthy romantic relationships can help reduce the risk of stroke to a project that could help children better cope with ADHD.

According to the Rhode Island Foundation, the grants are designed to help early-career researchers advance projects to the point where they are competitive for national funding. With this round of grants, the foundation has awarded more than $5.7 million since 1997.

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“Together with our visionary donors, we are providing the crucial source of early funding that enables local researchers to pursue promising medical advances,” Rhode Island Foundation President David Cicilline said. “Our hope is that their successes will lead to substantial new investments in the state’s research sector that will grow our economy and improve the health of Rhode Islanders.”

Nicole Logan, an assistant professor of kinesiology, received $25,000 to study the impact of physical activity on children with ADHD, which negatively impacts many common childhood milestones such as decision-making, language development and goal-setting. The study will recruit children and teens ages 6 to 17 with and without ADHD.

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“We will look at the association between levels of physical activity and neurocognitive functioning in all children, particularly those with ADHD who struggle with daily executive functioning skills,” Logan said.

“We expect the results will support alternative methods of managing childhood ADHD symptoms and provide insight on alternative methods of ADHD diagnosis,” she added. “Because physical activity and related outcomes like fitness, muscular strength and body composition are closely associated with neurocognitive function throughout childhood, we expect that children with ADHD will show improvement.”

For information about participating in the study, contact Logan at or visit the study’s recruitment page here.

Romance-Stroke Correlation Study

Jessica Cless, an assistant professor of human development and family science, received $24,766 to look at whether healthy romantic relationships can help reduce the risk of stroke.

“Factors such as stress, coping strategies, and a person’s experiences in romantic relationships have been shown to affect positive health behaviors such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine,” Cless said.

Cless said the results from this study are expected to provide preliminary recommendations for mental and public health professionals, as communities seek to develop prevention programs.

“In order to understand the more nuanced effects that stress and relationship factors have on positive health behaviors, we will collect data from adult romantic partners to understand how stress and relational experiences in romantic relationships can predict positive health behaviors,” Cless said.

The other grant recipients from URI are Xuerong Wen, associate professor of pharmacy practice, who received $20,000 to study “Access and Safety of Opioid Agonist Therapy in Pregnant Women;” Marin Manuel, assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, who received $20,635 to study “Serotonin neuron modulation after spinal cord injury;” Issac Agbemafle, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, who received $25,000 for “Upscaling participation in WIC: A Pilot Study;” Brahim Achour, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who received $25,000 for “Development of Liquid Biopsy Assays for the Prediction of TKI Exposure in Cancer Patients;” and Irene Andreu Blanco, assistant professor of chemical engineering, who received $25,000 for “Removal of catheter-associated biofilms using magnetic nanoparticles.”

A panel made up of scientists and physicians helped the Rhode Island Foundation evaluate the proposals, a foundation spokesperson said.

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