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Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Adversity (CIRCA)
In 2016, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded OSU Stillwater and OSU-Center for Health Sciences (CHS) an $11.4 million, five-year COBRE grant to build a collaborative research infrastructure in Oklahoma to support the development of high-potential investigators toward independent federal funding within the area of childhood stress, trauma, and health implications. The Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Adversity (CIRCA) was collaboratively created within the college of Human Sciences in Stillwater and the Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa and lead by principle investigator and project director, Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, who shares appointments in the Department of Psychiatry at CHS and the Department of Human Development and Family Science in Stillwater. Most of the sponsored CIRCA investigators, research teams and core directors are physically located in the cities of Stillwater and Tulsa.
- Explore the biological, cognitive, and socioemotional effects of childhood stress on health status, cognitive and interpersonal functioning, and behavior in a variety of high-risk populations using a wide range of methods.
- Develop more effective interventions for children and adolescents at risk for poor behavior and development outcomes and for physical and mental health problems.
- Create a robust and adaptable research infrastructure that includes training and support for all-stage researchers in biomarker data collection and analyses, complex study design and analysis, and translational, human subjects and community research strategies and methods, constructing an interdisciplinary team with cross-trained and translational research skills.
Core research support units are available to assist all funded projects, as well as others within the Center:
- Biomarker Core: Led by Dr. Kent Teague, OU-Tulsa Health Sciences Center, and Director of the Integrative Immunology Center at OU-Tulsa
- Study Design and Analysis Core: Led by Dr. Isaac Washburn, OSU
- Human and Community Research Training Core: Led by Dr. Amanda Harrist, OSU
- Administrative Core: Led by Drs. Jennifer Hays-Grudo (PI/PD) and Brenda Smith, both Regents Professors at OSU and histories of NIH funding; serve to coordinate training and mentoring of investigators and Center-wide administration
- A social demographer’s project to develop a registry of teen pregnancies in order to identify predictors of rapid repeat pregnancies (a second birth within 2 years) and develop more effective prevention and intervention strategies, led by Dr. Karina Shreffler, OSU-Tulsa.
- A family systems-based intervention to increase the involvement of immigrant Latino parents in their children’s schooling in order to prevent drop-out and risky behaviors, including substance abuse and gang involvement, led by Dr. Ron Cox, OSU-Tulsa.
- A public health researcher’s study using innovative wrist wear technology measuring blood alcohol levels in adolescent girls, correlating binge drinking behavior with serum Folate levels in order to develop more effective prevention strategies to prevent birth defects and other developmental disorders related to teen alcohol use, led by Dr. Julie Croff, OSU-Stillwater.
- A developmental scientist’s innovative project to use dual fMRI scanners simultaneously to evaluate the impact of parenting on the neurocircuitry of adolescents’ emotionality and depression symptoms, led by Dr. Amanda Morris, OSU-Tulsa, and Dr. Kyle Simmons, Laurette Institute for Brain Research (LIBR).
New full-scale research projects will be funded as these initial projects are completed or when the researchers leading these projects succeed in securing independent federal grants (e.g., R01).
Four to six smaller pilot projects will be funded that include researchers from multiple departments within OSU, from both Tulsa and Stillwater campuses, from the Center for Health Sciences, and from OSU-HSC in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. New pilot projects will be funded as existing pilot projects are completed.
To further build research capacity related to CIRCA’s aims, the Center is also seeking to assist in the recruiting of new OSU faculty by providing pilot project funding to enhance start-up funds for new faculty hires who would contribute new approaches and expertise to the Center.
For More Information:
Much more information about CIRCA can be found by visiting the CIRCA webpage.