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Mosaic Initiative Funds Biobehavioral Research and Enhances Diversity at School of Nursing

Posted: 8/30/2010

Douglas A. Granger, PhD, wants to make people healthier -- using their own saliva.  An expert in salivary biomarker research, Granger has $250,000 in funding from the Johns Hopkins University Mosaic Initiative to use salivary measures in prevention science, nursing, public health, and medicine.

Launched in 2007, the Mosaic Initiative will provide at least $5 million over five years with the goal of fostering a diverse faculty at the University.  Funding will support faculty hiring by providing salary, research support, and lab equipment.  Granger is one of five men who compose 7.5 percent of the full-time faculty at JHUSON.  (Men are 6.6 percent of the entire U.S. nursing workforce.)

"Diversity allows the integration of new ideas, both conceptual and practical," says Granger, who brings diversity to the nursing faculty in another way -- he has a doctorate in Psychology and Social Behavior and post-doctoral training in psychoneuroimmunology.   His academic training is not in nursing, but rather in disciplines that can complement nursing research.

"My background allows me to collaborate with nurse researchers who are involved with prevention, intervention, and are directly tied to healthcare," he notes.  "These types of collaborations happen at the interface of disciplines, and bring new ideas to the table that no one has thought of before."

Granger is well known for his development of methods related to saliva collection and analysis, and the theoretical and statistical integration of salivary markers (hormones, oral health, DNA, infectious disease exposure, etc.) into developmental research.  And he has some ideas about how this technology can be applied to nursing.

"Nurses are constantly put in stressful situations," says Granger.  "I hope to measure stress markers in nurses who work with simulations to determine which nurses need more/less training, and help predict how these nurses will handle real-life situations that may be stressful."

Such interdisciplinary collaboration, says Granger, is the future of nursing research.  "We have to try innovative ideas, he says, and the measurement of salivary markers can give us that edge."