Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

WESTFIELD STATE BIOLOGY PROFESSOR AWARDED GRANT

Westfield State University Biology Professor Kristen A. Porter, Ph.D., has been awarded a $750,000 grant through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) Women’s Health Program to research predictive modeling to create “bioprofiles” for use in personalized medicine in women’s health.  

“The goal of our work is to use cutting-edge microscopic imaging and computational modeling to determine if there are enough similarities between groups of women, that they can be placed into categories we call ‘bioprofiles,’” said Dr. Porter. “These bioprofiles can be used to determine the prognosis and success of various treatments for women within that bioprofile.”

Dr. Porter’s is one of five capital projects in the MLSC Women’s Health Program to receive part of the $8.3 million in funding this year. The funding supports innovative research and cross-sector collaboration between non-profits and Massachusetts-based life science companies to advance research in women’s health and foster new talent for the Massachusetts biotechnology super cluster. The MLSC Women’s Health Program supports collaborative projects to improve the discovery, technical innovation, and/or analysis of datasets to answer pressing life science-related questions around women’s health.

Massachusetts Secretary for Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, who serves as co-chair of the MLSC Board of Directors, said: “The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to support these novel efforts encouraging collaboration and innovation to advance human health and improving patient outcomes. These grants further our important, shared mission to incentivize transformative projects developing solutions in areas of need, while strengthening the thriving life sciences industry here in Massachusetts.”

The MLSC funding will help foster collaboration between Westfield State researchers and Cambridge, Mass.-based IOMICS Intelligent Analytics to address an understudied area in women’s health. Trauma to the female reproductive tract—whether it be from endometriosis, uterine surgery, childbirth, or assault—requires healing of wounded tissue. Considering that all women are different and heal at different rates, they will also vary in their response to therapeutics or surgical interventions, making it difficult for physicians to create the most effective treatment plan, according to Dr. Porter.   “The knowledge gained can be applied toward the development of more effective and personalized treatment programs, which reduce recovery times and improve patient outcomes,” she said.

Go back