News Release

George Mason receives NIH grant to study environmental pollutants and endometriosis links

First of its kind study to determine whether chemicals detected in the uterus are associated with endometriosis and its severity

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Dr. Anna Pollack

image: This is Dr. Anna Pollack. view more 

Credit: George Mason University

Dr. Anna Pollack, associate professor at the George Mason College of Health and Human Services has received a $1.6M grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to study the link between endometriosis and endocrine disrupting chemicals. These chemicals are sometimes called forever chemicals and are commonly found in humans' diets and household products.

The study--the first to measure concentrations of endocrine disruptors both inside and outside the uterus--seeks to answer two questions: first whether levels of these endocrine disruptors inside the uterus are associated with endometriosis and, second, if these chemicals in endometrial tissue found outside the uterus are associated with the severity of the disorder.

The study leverages data and specimens collected from the Endometriosis: Natural History, Diagnosis, and Outcomes (ENDO) Study. The ENDO study (conducted at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) enrolled 495 women aged 18-44, both with and without endometriosis prior to laparoscopic surgery. Using the tissue taken during the surgery, researchers will study concentrations of endocrine disruptors in healthy tissue inside the uterus and endometriosis implant tissues and determine if they are associated with endometriosis.

"NIH support for this research will shed insight about endocrine disruptors' roles in the development of gynecologic diseases such as endometriosis. As an emerging leader in public health research, George Mason University is a natural place for this research to take place," says Dr. Germaine Louis, dean of the College and principal investigator for the original ENDO study.


About the College of Health and Human Services

George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence and interprofessional practice. The College enrolls 1,917 undergraduate students and 950 graduate students in its nationally recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate degrees, and 11 certificate programs. The College is transitioning to a college public health in the near future. For more information, visit

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest and most diverse public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. For more information, visit

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