How our studies are transforming science
Women’s Health Research at Yale improves medical research and practice in two ways. First, the center ensures the study of women. The center also examines health differences between and among women and men to improve the lives of everyone.
Research highlights from ongoing pilot projects
Why is colon cancer risk different between women and men?
Dr. Caroline Johnson is investigating the sources of a type of colon cancer that is more common in women and more deadly than a type more often found in men. She is using a new method to investigate the products of hormones and beneficial bacteria in the colon to determine risk and protective factors in colon cancer.
Developing safer, less invasive monitoring for healthy pregnancy
Dr. Michelle Silasi is testing markers of inflammation to determine the risk for infection and preterm birth. The patient can begin this test herself. This method can offer an easier and less expensive way to collect samples than by taking blood or using a needle to get amniotic fluid, which also presents a risk to pregnant women.
Using technology to break the cycle of intimate partner violence
Dr. Trace Kershaw is developing a mobile app to improve decision-making for mothers and daughters exposed to violence in the home. The purpose of this project is to reduce high-risk behaviors and future intimate partner violence.
Understanding your brain on drugs
Dr. Kelly Cosgrove is scanning the action of chemicals in the brain in “real time” and connecting these actions with drug addiction. She developed this technique and is now using it for the first time to understand how cannabis works in the brain. And whether there are sex differences in response to cannabis.
Research Highlights from completed pilot projects
Recognizing heart attacks in women
Dr. Erica Spatz developed a better way to describe and group heart attacks that accounts for the different ways they can develop in women. Previous systems that doctors use to identify the source of symptoms can obscure heart disease and its risk. This new system provides a more personalized, precision-based approach to ensure more informed medical decisions and better outcome for women.
First to test a behavioral therapy for girls with autism spectrum disorder
Dr. Pamela Ventola tested a behavioral treatment for autism spectrum disorder on girls for the first time. She showed how the treatment not only works for girls but shows better results in girls than boys. Now applied in clinical use, this finding allows researchers and behavioral therapists to explore the specific, different needs of girls and boys with autism.
Breakthrough in using antibodies to treat BRCA-deficient cancers
Dr. Peter Glazer discovered that a product of the body’s immune system associated with the disease lupus can penetrate cancer cells. The cancer cells can then become sensitive to radiation and chemotherapy. Dr. Glazer continues to advance this method for treating cancer. He focuses on types of cancer that develop from inherited mutations to the tumor-suppressing BRCA2 gene.
How beneficial bacteria in the body can lead to autoimmune disease
Dr. Martin Kriegel showed that bacteria in the small intestines can travel to other organs and confuse immune cells into attacking the body. He also found that targeting the bacteria can suppress this autoimmune response. Such findings provide new ways for treating autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, which occur at far greater rates in women.