Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Department of Family Medicine

Posted in Research

Person: Alyssa Vanderziel

In July 2021, Alyssa Vanderziel, MS, Epidemiology PhD student (ABD) and research assistant at the Department of Family Medicine, received a PhD Dissertation Research Support Award from the NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse to complete her dissertation research on cannabis use during pregnancy and potential effects during gestation and beyond.

Her main CHM advisors for this work are Drs. Omayma Alshaarawy (Family Medicine) and Jim Anthony (Epidemiology & Biostatistics).

According to the NIH Project Reporter, Alyssa’s award is just one of two NIH R36 awards ever received by a PhD student at MSU during the interval from 1985 through mid-2021. MSU’s other R36 award was issued in 2008 to Dr. Lanay Mudd for PhD dissertation research on health outcomes of physical activity during pregnancy.

This is a highly competitive award for a PhD trainee applicant. In recent years, fewer than 30% of R36 applications have received funding from NIH; 70% did not receive fundable study section priority scores.

“I am honored to have received the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse R36 Dissertation Award, which supports doctoral candidates for the completion of the dissertation. For me, this prestigious award provides the resources necessary to fully dedicate myself to my research on cannabis use during pregnancy and the potential effects during gestation and beyond. This R36 award will allow me to grow both professionally and as a new principal investigator in the field of substance use research.” – Alyssa Vanderziel, MS