UNMC College of Medicine faculty received 32 grant awards representing more than $6.1 million in new funding during the month of May and June.
Here are some of the research highlights:
Continued support for CHAIN Center
Shilpa Buch, PhD, pharmacology & experimental neuroscience, has received a National Institutes of Health award for $1.5 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to continue the support of the Chronic HIV Infection and Aging in NeuroAIDS (CHAIN) Center, which provides necessary leadership and a backbone of support to continue the outstanding research on HIV/AIDS and the central nervous system ongoing at UNMC and throughout the nation.
Underlying neuroinflammation with opiate use in HIV infection
Minglei Guo, PhD, pharmacology & experimental neuroscience, has received a National Institutes of Health award for $300,000 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the combinatorial effects of HIV infection, antiretroviral therapy, and morphine use on neuroinflammation and its effects on developing HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.
Reducing surgical site infections using anti-infective wound dressings
Jingwei Xie, PhD, surgery - transplant, has received a National Institutes of Health award for $300,000 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to develop therapeutic anti-infective wound dressings that improve the host immune response to attack the pathogen on numerous fronts, rather than a single front like traditional antibiotics, to prevent surgical site infections.
Targeting gut-brain axis to eliminate CNS reservoirs of HIV
Siddappa Byrareddy, PhD, pharmacology & experimental neuroscience, has received a National Institutes of Health award for $200,000 from the National Institute of Mental Health to study whether modifying immune cell targeting can reduce the accumulation of HIV-infected cells in both the gut and central nervous system, as well as to determine if these areas serve as viral reservoirs during chronic HIV infection.
Improved classification of peripheral T-cell lymphoma biopsies
Javeed Iqbal, PhD, pathology & microbiology, has received an Exploratory/Developmental Cooperative Agreement award for $200,000 from the National Cancer Institute to develop improved processes for determining the classification of peripheral T-cell lymphoma. By utilizing new molecular characteristics, which can be identified through tissue biopsies, this should improve the standardization and accuracy of the molecular classification of this cancer type.
Effects of cocaine on HIV and immune activation in CNS
Palsamy Periyasamy, PhD, pharmacology & experimental neuroscience, has received a National Institutes of Health award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the cooperative effects of both HIV and cocaine on immune system activation and inflammation in the central nervous system.
Continued support for summer undergraduate alcohol research program
Ted Mikuls, MD, internal medicine - rheumatology, has received a National Institutes of Health award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to provide continued support for an annual 10-week summer research program for seven undergraduate students. This allows these students to work with investigators at UNMC, whose research focuses on alcohol and its effect on human health, in a program that includes hands-on biomedical research experience and educational programming.
Nebraska DHHS cancer and smoking disease research grants awarded
Three individuals have received support through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NE DHHS) Cancer and Smoking Disease Research Grant competition. Funded by LB506, this program focuses on reducing cancer and smoking-related diseases.
Walter (Scott) Campbell, PhD, pathology & microbiology, for a project titled "Tissue characterization by digital whole slide imaging for bio repository management: A prototype in pancreatic cancer research;"
Kai Fu, MD, PhD, pathology & microbiology, for a project titled "Targeting MYC translational machinery for treatment of aggressive B-cell lymphoma;" and
Karen Gould, PhD, genetics, cell biology & anatomy, for a project titled "Identification of the Mom5 modifier of colon cancer risk."
The following industry-sponsored contracts and foundation grants were received. Information on clinical trials enrolling patients at UNMC can be found here.
Nicole Shonka, MD, internal medicine - oncology/hematology, is the UNMC lead on a phase IIb/III study to determine if the addition of a novel drug to concomitant radiotherapy prolongs progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma.
Sarah Holstein, MD, PhD, internal medicine - oncology/hematology, is the UNMC lead on a phase II study comparing various combination treatments for patients that are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma and are receiving autologous stem cell transplantation. Dr. Holstein also is serving as the UNMC lead on a phase I study on the safety of the infusion of human cord blood-derived, culture-expanded, immune cells in patients with multiple myeloma.
James Talmadge, PhD, pathology & microbiology, has received support to study the disinfectant properties of ozonated water, which is cold water infused with ozone gas.
David F. Mercer, MD, PhD, surgery - transplant, is the UNMC lead on two separate studies, including a study of the safety and efficacy of a novel treatment for pediatric patients with short bowel syndrome, as well as a validation study of pediatric intestinal transplant listing criteria.
Stephen Obaro, MBBS, PhD, pediatrics - infectious diseases, has received a task order award through the National Strategic Research Institute from the U.S. Military HIV Research Program. Dr. Obaro will be assisting the Joint West Africa Research Group in site development for microbiology capabilities.
Thomas Porter, MD, internal medicine - cardiology, has received support for a study that will test whether an ultrasound contrast agent that carries large quantities of oxygen can be used to reduce heart damage in heart attack victims.
James McClay, MD, emergency medicine, has received support from the University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute to assist with the ADAPTABLE trial, which is a patient-centric trial assessing the benefits and long-term effectiveness of aspirin dosing.
Matthew Van Hook, PhD, ophthalmology & visual sciences, has received support from the BrightFocus Foundation for a study on early melanopsin ganglion cell dysfunction in glaucoma.
Austin Thompson, MD, internal medicine - pulmonary, is the UNMC lead on a phase III study to determine the safety and efficacy of pulsed, inhaled nitric oxide in symptomatic subjects with pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Diana Florescu, MD, internal medicine - infectious diseases, is the UNMC lead on a phase II study led by Northwestern University, which will evaluate a novel treatment for acute and chronic norovirus infection in hematopoietic stem cell and solid organ transplant recipients. Dr. Florescu will assist with a study that aims to develop an observational disease registry of patients treated with systemic mold-active triazoles.
Angela Hewlett, MD, internal medicine - infectious diseases, is the UNMC lead on a study of an expanded access treatment protocol for an investigative drug used for the treatment of Ebola virus disease and Ebola virus exposure.
Deepak Madhavan, MD, neurological sciences, is the UNMC lead on two separate studies, including a study evaluating the safety of cannabidiol in children and adults with inadequately controlled Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.
Matthew Lunning, DO, internal medicine - oncology/hematology, is the UNMC lead on a clinical trial led by the National Marrow Donor Program that will evaluate the use of a maintenance treatment with a novel antibody after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with high-risk multiple myeloma.
Mark Rupp, MD, internal medicine - infectious diseases, has received support to assist with a retrospective epidemiological study of data related to false positive results from blood culture contamination.
Ruben Quiros, MD, pediatrics - gastroenterology, is the UNMC lead on a clinical study of a novel treatment for adolescents with chronic hepatitis B.
Howard Gendelman, MD, pharmacology & experimental neuroscience, has received support to test new technology for his Parkinson’s studies.
Angela Yetman, MD, pediatrics - cardiology, has received support from the Pediatric Heart Network to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of a novel, orally administered selective inhibitor for the treatment of adolescent subjects who have undergone the Fontan procedure.
Joseph McBride, MD, radiology, is the UNMC lead on a clinical study to survey the experience and acceptability by physicians using embolic beads to detect and characterize the vascularity of hepatic tumors during treatment with transarterial embolization.