Press ReleaseDate: 09-10-08
Name: Terri Guess Phone: 973-972-3000
Vice President for Research and the Council of Research Deans Provide $10,000 Grants to Six Interdisciplinary Research Teams
"The TSI program is a creative way to bring together diverse groups of researchers within the university to study diseases and treatments in novel ways." said Kathleen W. Scotto, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. "The research administration of the University established this award program to create exciting synergy using the broad expertise and experience of our UMDNJ researchers. The funds are to be spent on team meetings, local travel, pilot studies, and other research development activities that will be leveraged to attract additional funding for team-based disease-targeted research."
The following collaborative teams received the TSI development awards:
Eldo Kuzhikandathil Ph.D. (NJMS) and William Welsh, Ph.D. (RWJMS) will look at new treatments for Levodopa-induced dyskinesias in Parkinson's disease. Dopamine is the therapy for treating Parkinson's disease. Unfortunately, about 60-80 percent of the patients treated with dopamine develop severe movement disorders called dyskinesias. Recent studies suggest that a protein that binds dopamine is expressed at higher levels in brains of dyskinetic animals. The team hypothesizes that specific properties of the elevated dopamine binding protein contributes to the development of dyskinesias. If these properties could be selectively abolished using synthetic drugs, dyskinesias associated with Parkinson's disease treatment could be potentially cured.
Dr. Jeanne Ferrante (RWJMS) along with Deborah Cohen, Ph.D (RWJMS), Jesse Crosson, Ph.D. (NJMS) and Joanne Fagan, Ph.D. (SPH) will evaluate a patient navigator program funded by the Overlook Hospital Foundation, designed to coordinate care of patients, assist them with navigating the health care system, obtain needed resources and facilitate communication between the patient, primary care and specialist offices. The team, using surveys and interviews, will obtain valuable preliminary data and insights to help toward submitting a future grant application for a clinical trial testing the use of patient navigators in improving health outcomes of patients in community-based primary care practices.
Melissa Rogers, Ph.D. (NJMS) and Dr. John Langenfeld (RWJMS) will study how mycoplasma infections can alter the behavior of cancer cell. The study will also lay the groundwork for examining whether high risk patients should be screened and treated for silent mycoplasma infections to prevent lung cancer and whether lung cancer patients should be treated with antibiotics to eradicate mycoplasma infection.
Dr. Maria Gennaro (PHRI, NJMS) proposes to build an interdisciplinary "UMDNJ Systems Biology Initiative on Global Health". The initiative will help set the stage for pursuing and performing genome-scale research on global health issues using systems biology approaches. The team includes Padmini Salgame Ph.D., William Gause Ph.D., Vivian Bellofatto Ph.D., Amy Davidow Ph.D., and Richard Pine Ph.D. all of (NJMS) and William Welsh Ph.D., (RWJMS).
Arkady Mustaev Ph.D. (NJMS, PHRI) and Dmitry Temiakov Ph.D. (SOM) will work to develop and optimize an experimental system involving human mitochondrial RNA polymerase and novel fluorescent NTPs. The system will allow robotic scanning of thousands of synthetic chemical compounds to determine potential inhibitors of transcription. When such drugs are identified they can be used to study molecular mechanisms of human mitochondrial gene expression as well as drug-associated mitochondrial dysfunction
Dr. Elias Lianos, Ph.D. (RWJMS) will study the role of the enzyme soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) in Glomerular Immune Injury. Co-investigators are Yacov Ron Ph.D. (RWJMS) and Annie Beuve Ph.D. (NJMS)
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university, with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.