Great Plains IDeA-CTR announces Scholars grants

June 14, 2017

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Soonjo Hwang, M.D. Anthony Podany, Pharm.D.
The Great Plains IDeA-Clinical Translational Research (CTR) Network at UNMC has announced four awardees for its 2017 Scholars Program grants.

The goal of the program, administered through a National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of General Medical Sciences grant, is to develop successful CTR investigators. To achieve this goal, selected scholars are provided with the protected time and seed grant funding to develop competitive CTR projects for submission to the NIH. The award provides partial salary support and up to $50,000 annually to support preliminary research efforts for up to four years. Four scholars were chosen: three from UNMC and one from Boys Town National Research Hospital. They are:

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Deepta Ghate, M.D. Daniel Rasetshwane, Ph.D.
Deepta Ghate, M.D., assistant professor, department of ophthalmology & visual sciences, UNMC. Patients with glaucoma have a three times higher risk of accidents as compared to the normal population. Dr. Ghate's long-term goal is to develop alert systems when objects appear in the areas of missing vision, so as to make driving safer for patients with glaucoma. Her proposed study will use a new and innovative visual field task, built in a driving simulator, to precisely map the parts of visual scene that glaucoma patients can and cannot see during distracted and non-distracted driving, and then compare it to the visual field mapped in clinic.

Soonjo Hwang, M.D., assistant professor, department of psychiatry, UNMC. Dr. Hwang's project will determine the impact of oxytocin on children and adolescents with severe levels of irritability/emotional dysregulation/and aggressive behavior.

Anthony Podany, Pharm.D., assistant professor, College of Pharmacy, UNMC. Dr. Podany's research addresses the critical need for shorter course tuberculosis (TB) treatment regimens for HIV/TB co-infected individuals.

Daniel Rasetshwane, Ph.D., director, Auditory Signal Processing Laboratory, Boys Town National Research Hospital. Dr. Rasetshwane's project is to improve the quality of hearing aids and, thereby, patient satisfaction by having developed a fitting algorithm that utilizes categorical loudness scaling data and a signal-processing algorithm that restores suppression. Evaluation of both algorithms resulted in promising outcomes.

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network is a collaborative effort between nine institutions in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Kansas to reach medically underserved populations and transform health delivery and outcomes in the Great Plains region.

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