February 24, 2021

Locke and Mrug receive AMC 21 2020/21 Multi-PI Awards

Written by

Locke resizeThe AMC21 2020/21 Multi-PI grants have been awarded to two School of Medicine faculty: Jayme Locke, M.D., and Michal Mrug, M.D. These annual grants enable School of Medicine faculty members to organize and integrate multidisciplinary teams of accomplished investigators who will compete successfully for long-term support from funding agencies.

Each year, the projects are chosen based on scientific merit. They are eligible for up to $150,000 per year for a project period of up to two years, pending appropriate progress and achieving benchmarks.

Jayme Locke, M.D., MPH, professor in the Department of Surgery, was awarded an AMC21 2020/21 grant for the project “Identifying and Addressing Disparities in the Continuum of Transplant Care,” which will support the creation of a center for studying disparities in transplant care. The goals are to develop and implement interventions that will mitigate identified disparities along the continuum of transplant care from disease development and progression to end-stage disease to transplantation.

Collaborators on Locke’s project include Paige Porrett, M.D., Ph.D., and J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom Ph.D., R.N.

On the project’s goals Locke says, “The first-of-its-kind center for the study of disparities in transplantation would span personalized medicine and genomics, basic science discovery, health disparities and outcomes, and immunity.”

“The project team includes R01-level funded lead investigators with expertise in transplantation, behavioral research (health disparities and outcomes), chronic disease, surgery, and immunology. These investigators have access to core facilities across the School of Medicine (e.g. Transplant Epidemiology Analytics and Medicine [T.E.A.M.], Minority Health Research Center (MHRC), Program in Immunology) that will be leveraged to develop and grow transplant related health disparities research cores in basic, translational, and behavioral research.”

Mrug resizeMichal Mrug, M.D., professor in the Division of Nephrology, was awarded an AMC21 2020/21 grant for the project “PKD1 and PKD2 Functional Variants Characterization Center.” This project will address the lack of safe, highly efficient therapeutics and only partially validated supportive care and lifestyle recommendations for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), the fourth leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.

“The proposed program will provide strong foundation for the development of patient-guided therapeutic strategies for ADPKD through functional annotation of PKD1 and PKD2 gene variants and their gene-environment interactions,” Mrug says.

When asked what the project means for future ADPKD research at UAB, Mrug replies, “it will catalyze the development of synergistic interactions between research teams with expertise in precision medicine, led by Elizabeth Worthey, Ph.D., and Brittany N. Lasseigne, Ph.D.; kidney injury research, led by James F. George, Ph.D.; and polycystic kidney disease model development and preclinical research, led by Bradley K. Yoder, Ph.D., and Michal Mrug, M.D. To expedite the execution of proposed studies and ensure their reproducibility, the collaborative partners will include the UAB Precision Medicine Institute, the UAB Center for Precision Animal Modeling, the UAB O’Brien Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research, and the UAB Childhood Cystic Kidney Disease Core Center.”

“This robust, synergistic collaboration will yield transformative solutions beyond what would be possible through individual efforts.”

The AMC21 is UAB Medicine's strategic plan to become the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century. Locke’s and Mrug’s projects will aid in developing advancements in scientific discovery and biomedical research at UAB.