Disease Susceptibility, Pathogenesis and Prevention

Life experiences, and in many cases environmental toxicants and pathogens, can produce deleterious effects on the overall health and quality of life of individuals. Such experiences have direct consequences on basic aspects of physiological function (e.g., cardiovascular fitness) and can be etiologically related to the development of psychopathological states (e.g., stress, fear, anxiety, depression) as well as a diverse range of other chronic disease conditions. Understanding of the relationship between, and mechanisms underlying, life experiences and disease progression is critical for development of prevention and intervention strategies at the behavioral (e.g., exercise, therapy, treatment), health decision-making (personal, community or societal) or biological (cellular, molecular, genetic/epigenetic) levels necessary to promote positive health throughout society. Binghamton University currently has strengths in pathological weight gain and associated metabolic disorders; pathogen-host interactions, infectious diseases, and biofilms; substance abuse; neurodegenerative conditions; and inflammatory diseases. Through strategic investment of resources to leverage these existing strengths and develop a cross-disciplinary network focusing on experiential and environmental influences on disease progression and health, Binghamton University will become a key force in development of novel approaches for behavioral and biological health promotion.