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Cynthia Curl Receives Osher Institute Grant for Pesticide Exposure Research

Cynthia Curl, assistant professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Community and Environmental Health, is among four Boise State faculty to receive $5,000 for her research from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Boise State. The grant was established by the Osher Institute Advisory Board five years ago as a way to support Boise State faculty and help raise awareness of the Osher Institute within the university. Annual member contributions to Osher’s Excellence Fund make the grant possible.

Cynthia Curl, Community and Environmental Health, Studio Portrait

Curl’s research focuses on the exposure to pesticides during pregnancy. We know that maternal exposure to agricultural pesticides during pregnancy has been associated with subsequent decrements in cognitive, behavioral and neurological outcomes in children, including lower IQ, poorer memory, and increased incidence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, it is not known whether the amount of pesticide exposure resulting from a conventional diet is substantial enough to cause these decrements, and whether any such effects could be prevented with an organic diet. Curl’s lab is conducting a pilot-scale dietary intervention study, in which women will be randomly assigned to eat either organic or conventional fruits and vegetables throughout their pregnancies, provided by the research team, who will repeatedly assess biological levels of pesticide metabolites in urine samples collected from study participants.

Other grant recipients include:

  • Cheryl Jorcyk, Biological Sciences
  • Rick Ubic, Materials Science and Engineering, and
  • Peter Mullner, Materials Science and Engineering.

Grant recipients are encouraged to give a presentation for the Osher Institute about their research or scholarly projects, which adds to Osher programming. Read more about the other grant recipients.