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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

BU: Professor to Establish Biorespository Network for Gulf War Illness Research

To go from knowing nothing about a “mystery” condition to developing targeted treatment for it in under 30 years is fast, says Dr. Kimberly Sullivan, research assistant professor of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). But for the roughly 200,000 veterans suffering from the set of chronic and debilitating symptoms now known as Gulf War Illness (GWI), Dr. Sullivan says it is a very long time to wait for validation, U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VA) benefits, and treatment.

To speed up the process, Dr. Sullivan is leading the creation of the Boston Biorepository, Recruitment, and Integrative Network (BBRAIN) for GWI research, thanks to a $3.2 million award from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

Building off of the ongoing Boston Gulf War Illness Consortium (GWIC), BBRAIN will launch this summer with a new study of 500 veterans at four sites around the country (Boston, New York, Miami, and San Francisco), and will house biological specimens and clinical data from Gulf War veterans with and without GWI.

To get veterans what they need as quickly as possible, Dr. Sullivan says, BBRAIN aims to get researchers what they need as quickly as possible. The samples of saliva, blood, DNA, RNA, stool, and urine, as well as brain imaging and mountains of data, will be available to researchers within and outside of the consortium. BBRAIN will have a centralized website for researchers to request samples and data.

Read more about BBRAIN.