Nova Southeastern University Researchers Receive $800,000 Grant to Research Gulf War Illness

Department of Defense Award Will Help Examine Causes and Develop Better Treatments for Patients

Jul 07, 2015, 13:51 ET from Nova Southeastern University

FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla., July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Serving one's country as a member of our armed forces is among the most noble professions, but the sacrifices do not stop once soldiers return home and are taken out of harm's way. Many soldiers face lifelong issues.

At least a quarter of the 700,000 soldiers who fought in the 1991 Gulf War suffer from a debilitating disease called Gulf War Illness (GWI).

GWI is a medical condition that affects both men and women and is associated with symptoms including fatigue, chronic headaches, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, gastrointestinal issues, neurological problems, respiratory symptoms, hormonal imbalance and immune dysfunction.

Paula A. Faria Waziry, Ph.D., assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine's Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine, and her research team recently were awarded an $805,882 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs to investigate the genomic and cellular mechanisms that cause GWI.

The study is titled "An Integrated Genomics and Cell Biology Approach to Correlate Novel GWI Indicators of Infections and Neuroinflammatory Mechanisms with Targeted Drug Therapy."

"Little is known about what causes the onset and progression of Gulf War Illness," said Waziry. "Our aim is to identify specific disease targets that will lead to improved diagnosis and more effective therapeutic interventions for patients. It is our duty to help those who served their country in any way we can, and this is one way we can make a major difference."

GWI is likely caused by a combination of factors including genomic make-up and environmental exposures, such as toxic chemicals and/or viruses. Further exacerbation or chronic stress during and after war-time may also contribute to aggravation and persistence of symptoms.

In addition to Waziry, who will serve as primary investigator, the research team consists of faculty members from NSU College of Osteopathic Medicine's Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine, including Lubov Nathanson, Ph.D., assistant professor and genomics expert; Nancy Klimas, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the institute; Mariana Morris, Ph.D., professor and director of Gulf War Illness research; and Gordon Broderick, Ph.D., professor and director of computational biology.

This work was supported by the Department of Defense Gulf War Illness Research Program under Award No.W81XWH-15-1-0163.

About NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine:  The mission of the College of Osteopathic Medicine is to provide learner-centered education, both nationally and internationally, for osteopathic medical students, postgraduate trainees, and other professionals. Through its inter-professional programs, the college prepares competent and compassionate lifelong learners; supports research, scholarly activity, and community service; and advocates for the health and welfare of diverse populations, including the medically underserved. Please visit for more information.

About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution with more than 24,000 students, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie's Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education's criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit for more information.

SOURCE Nova Southeastern University