May 15, 2015

Four projects awarded funding through AMC21 Multi-Investigator Grants

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Four projects were awarded through the first School of Medicine AMC21 Reload Multi-Investigator Grants, a broad funding opportunity provided through the Academic Enrichment Fund that enables faculty members to organize and integrate multi-disciplinary teams of accomplished investigators to compete successfully for long-term extramural support.

Support from the grants will provide faculty with the opportunity to prove the feasibility of their working as a cohesive team and aid in the acquisition of resources, preliminary data and/or administrative support needed to operate as an interdisciplinary research program. Faculty were eligible for up to $150,000 per year for up to three years, with the goal being that project leaders would submit a proposal for extramural funding during the second year.

“We were looking for outstanding science combined with top-notch investigators who have a productive history of working together,” said Etty “Tika” Benveniste, Ph.D., interim senior associate dean for Research Administration and Development. “The four selected projects stood out for their combination of science, qualifications from the assigned criteria and level of expertise each collaborator brings to different aspects of the research.”

Those selected were:
“Congenital CMV Infection in a Highly Seroimmune, Urban Maternal Population”
Primary Principal Investigator: William Britt, M.D., professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Co-principal Investigator: Suresh Boppana, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology; Investigators: Karen Fowler, DrPH, professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology; Shannon Ross, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology; Alan Tita, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Rodney Edwards, M.D., associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Ona-Faye Petersen, M.D., professor of Pathology and Obstetrics and Gynecology; Susan Davies, Ph.D., associate professor of Health Behavior in the School of Public Health; Xiangquin Chu, Ph.D., associate professor of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health; Miirjam-Colette Kempf, Ph.D., associate professor of Nursing; and Julie Woodruff, Au.D., pediatric audiologist in the Department of Pediatrics.
Funding awarded: $112,500/year

“Protein O-GlcNAcylation: Central Mediator of Metabolic Induced Cardiovascular Complications”
Primary principal investigator: John Chatham, Ph.D., professor of Pathology and director of the Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology; Investigators: Yabing Cheng, Ph.D., professor of Pathology in the Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology; Victor Darley-Usmar, Ph.D., professor of Pathology in the Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology and director of the Center for Free Radical Biology; Rajasekaran Namakkal-Soorappan, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pathology in the Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology; Martin Young, Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease; and Jianhua Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology in the Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology.
Funding awarded: $112,500/year

"The Pathogenesis and Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis”
Primary Principal Investigator: Steven Rowe, M.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine; Investigators: Mark Dransfield, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine; S. Vamsee Raju, B. Pharm., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine; Kevin Harrod, Ph.D., professor of Anesthesiology; Kurt Zinn, Ph.D., professor of Radiology; Patricia Jackson, Ph.D., associate professor Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine; Trent Schoeb, Ph.D., professor of Genetics; Chad Steele, Ph.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine;  Ed Acosta, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Hyunki Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of Radiology.
Funding awarded: $112,500/year

“Optimizing Patient Engagement in Recommended Health Care: A Patient-Centered Approach”     
Primary principal investigator: Kenneth Saag, M.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology; Investigators: Smita Bhatia, M.D., MPH, professor of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics, director of the Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship and associate director of the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education; Greer Burkholder, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases; Jeffrey R. Curtis, M.D., MPH, professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology; Maria I. Danila, M.D., MSc, MSPH, assistant professor Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology; Mona Fouad, M.D., MPH, professor of Medicine, director of the Division of Preventive Medicine and director of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center; Angela Jukkala, Ph.D, RN, associate professor of Nursing; Michael Mugavero, M.D., MHSc, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases; Paul Muntner, Ph.D., professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health; Michael Saag, M.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Center for AIDS Research; Monika Safford, M.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Preventive Medicine; Jasvinder Singh, M.D., MPH, professor of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology; and James Willig, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.
Funding awarded: $112,500/year

Benveniste said 45 grant proposals were submitted for funding and 25 of those were selected to move on to the review process based on the following criteria: 1. team expertise / track record; 2. quality of interaction among the team; 3. likelihood for securing extramural funding; 4. ability to promote integration across disciplines; 5.  lack of duplication with existing programs; and 6. fit into three of the AMC21 research focus areas in fundamentals of basic science discovery, outcomes/health disparities; and inflammation, infection and immunity (I3). Each proposal was reviewed by three School of Medicine faculty, with 40 faculty members serving in the review process. 

Seven investigators were selected to present a short talk to the AMC21 Executive Research Steering Committee about their proposal and its fit in the overall mission of the strategic plan before the final four were selected.

“Each of these groups are very powerful in their potential to use this funding to produce cutting-edge, innovative science that can lead to large, extramurally funded projects,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., executive vice dean.

The next opportunity to submit an AMC21 Reload Multi-investigator grant will be in February 2016. Other current funding opportunities now accepting applications include the Blue Sky Innovator Awards (deadline June 12 at 5 p.m.) and the Health Services Foundation General Endowment Fund Awards (deadline July 21 at 4 p.m.)
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