Translational Research Grants Awarded

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UW-ICTR translational research grantsMADISON – In a major step towards involving Wisconsin communities in UW-Madison health research, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) has awarded 16 pilot grants (listed below) totaling $640,000.


The grants will fund projects across the age span, from children with asthma to elderly people with osteoporosis, and will focus on ways to diagnose disease more easily and deliver care more effectively.


"We are very excited because these grants link investigators from around our state, join new and experienced researchers and focus on novel technologies," says Dr. Marc K. Drezner, ICTR director and senior associate dean at UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "The research represents proposals submitted by faculty from all of the ICTR academic partners, including those in Marshfield, Milwaukee, Keshena and Madison."


Ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 each, the grants in this first round of annual awards fund projects in two categories: (1) clinical and type 1 translational and (2) type 2 translational research. The science deals with topics such as designing new flu vaccines, early screening for depression in African-Americans and improving eating habits in rural Native American communities.


"Clinical and type 1 translational research are investigations that move from basic laboratory science to clinical trials," explains Drezner. "Type 2 involves studies out in the real world, often engaging community members, organizations and clinicians as partners in the research process."


Established in 2007, ICTR was created to enhance the movement of research from the university to doctors' offices, hospitals and clinics in communities across Wisconsin. Comprising four UW schools (Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine), the College of Engineering and Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, the institute was awarded a $41 million grant in 2007 from the National Institutes of Health.


"The fundamental goal of ICTR to link the most basic research to practical improvements in human health," says Drezner.


In addition to financially supporting new clinical and translational research, ICTR provides infrastructure that links investigators, trains them, and provides them many tools and resources.


Round 1, Funded Pilot Projects

ER Stress and Cytokines in Ankylosing Spondylitis


Principal investigator: Judith Smith, UW School of Medicine and Public Health

Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of progressive arthritis that is generally difficult to diagnose and treat, primarily affects young adults and children. This research will examine the linkage between a cellular response to misfolded protein and an increase in the secretion of an inflammatory cytokine. Testing for increased inflammation might be more economical and predictive than the current diagnostic method.


Nonhuman Primate Models for Pandemic Influenza Vaccines


Principal investigator: Thomas Friedrich, UW School of Veterinary Medicine; Collaborator: Yoshihiro Kawaoka, UW School of Veterinary Medicine


In collaboration with a world-renowned influenza viral expert, Friedrich will develop a model system in nonhuman primates (NHP) to study influenza pathogenesis and immunity. The use of NHP models could be an important tool in the design and testing of vaccines to prevent a potentially deadly pandemic.


Oxygen Regulation of Intrapulmonary Shunts in HPS


Principal investigator: Nissa Erickson, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Marlow Eldridge, Timothy Hacker, John Hokanson, Alexandru Musat, Scott Perlman, Michael Armbrust, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a complication of chronic liver disease that is characterized by the formation of intrapulmonary shunting, which can lead to severe hypoxemia. The high morbidity and mortality associated with HPS are indications for early liver transplantation. This research will investigate pathogenic mechanisms of HPS using a rat model system, and whether intervention with 100% oxygen reduces the magnitude of intrapulmonary shunting.


Phylogenetics of Hepatitis C Virus and Treatment Success


Principal investigator: Robert Striker, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Timothy Uphoff, Apollo Musana and John Kirchner, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation; Michael Lucey, UW School of Medicine and Public Health and Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation


Hepatitis C virus is a treatable cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer. Nonetheless, treatment is often expensive and ineffective. With colleagues at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, the proposed research seeks to develop databases correlating patient and viral characteristics with clinical outcomes to allow more specific tailoring of therapies that have lower risk/benefit ratios.


Innate Immune Response to RSV in Early Llife (IREL Study)


Principal investigator: Theresa Guilbert, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborator: Robert Lemanske and Jim Gern, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Carol Ober, University of Chicago


More than 3 percent of U.S. children develop serious lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs) requiring hospitalization as a result of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Moreover, children with RSV-LRIs are considerably more likely to develop asthma and lower lung function. This research will investigate genetic variation in the innate immune system and the relationship among this variation, immune response, and RSV disease severity.


Eosinophil Regulation of Rhinovirus Infection of Epithelial Cells


Principal investigator: Sameer Mathur, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Jim Gern, Nizar Jarjour, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


Viral infections trigger most worsening of asthma. The present study hypothesizes that interactions between two types of cells is an important component of this increased susceptibility to viral causes of worsening asthma. Specifically, Mathur will assess the effects of eosinophils on rhinovirus replication in epithelial cells using an in vitro model system.


Novel Techniques for Analysis of Bone Mineral Metabolism


Principal investigator: Ricki Colman, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: David Abbott, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Joseph Skulan, UW College of Letters and Science


Age-related bone loss is universal, affecting men and women in all populations. Assembling a unique multidisciplinary team, Colman proposes to adapt a common geochemical method to develop new, noninvasive techniques to measure bone mineral balance. These techniques, which promise to provide data on bone mineral balance not currently available, will be validated and applied to a primate model of bone mass maintenance when estrogen levels are low.


Does Omeprazole Decrease Intestinal Calcium Absorption?


Principal investigator: Karen Hansen, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborator: Martin Shafer, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene


Postmenopausal American women represent the subgroup with the highest prevalence of osteoporosis, and account for more than half of the long-term users of proton pump inhibitors (PPI). It is currently unclear whether PPI use limits calcium absorption and alters subsequent calcium homeostasis. The study will examine the effect of omperazole, a common PPI, on changes in calcium balance and bone resorption.

Remote Assessment of Communication Ability in Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury


Principal investigator: Lyn Turkstra, UW College of Letters and Science; Collaborators: Marilyn Workinger, Maura Quinn-Padron, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation


Chronic communication problems are common in those with traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can lead to other difficulties, such as depression, social isolation, and unemployment. For those with limited access to long-term services because of geographic isolation, telemedicine offers remote assessment of potential communication difficulties. This work will compare remote and direct assessment of conversations in individuals with TBI to refine clinical practice guidelines.

Madison Area Collaborative Colonoscopy Improvement Project


Principal investigator: Mark Benson, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Carla Alvarado, Pascale Carayon, UW College of Engineering; Patrick Pfau, Mark Reichelderfer, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Christopher Rall, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation


Most colon cancers begin as benign polyps, called adenomas. Removing adenomas during colonoscopy prevents colon cancer. Nonetheless, the ability to detect adenomas varies up to ten fold among physicians performing the colonoscopies. This research will examine potential factors influencing the number of adenomas detected as a way to design a more effective colonoscopy.


Wisconsin Model of Family-Centered Genetic Counseling


Principal investigator: Audrey Tluczek, UW School of Nursing; Collaborators: Michael Rock, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Bradley Sullivan, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation; Diana Quintero, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin


This study is unique for its application of the patient/family-centered models to the context of genetic counseling for newborn screening, innovatively using mental health clinical skills to address parents' emotional needs as well as their cognitive styles. The research team will compare this family-centered counseling approach with the traditional patient-education model in families with infants screening positive for cystic fibrosis.


The Oh Happy Day Depression and Alcohol Intervention (OHDDA)


Principal investigator: Earlise Ward, UW School of Nursing; Collaborators: Michael Fleming, Molly Carnes, UW School of Medicine and Public Health ; Susan Heidrich, UW School of Nursing


African-Americans across the United States face significant disparities in mental health and receipt of health care. Ward developed the OHDDA intervention in response to her research showing this population preferred obtaining counseling in community settings such as churches and community centers. This study will test feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, as well as the effectiveness of using pastoral staff to refer individuals for counseling.


Community and Family Influences on Healthy Eating in Rural American Indian Communities


Principal investigator: Tara LaRowe, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Alexandra Adams, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Sam Dennis, UW College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Scott Krueger, Menominee Tribal Clinic


There is little research on the impact of both environmental influences and family food-access issues on obesity prevention in rural communities, and in particular on American Indian reservations. The study will involve families with young children living on the Menominee, Wisconsin, reservation and will examine dietary information, the location of food outlets, and food habits and attitudes. The information gathered will be used to identify ways to target community-based interventions for healthier nutrition.


Adding Depression to a Primary Care Screening System


Principal investigator: Richard Brown, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Teresa Elaina Woods, David Katzelnick, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


The prevalence of depression among primary-care populations is estimated to be 10%, although almost one-half of these depressed patients receive no treatment because systematic screening and effective treatment are lacking. This study will examine whether health educators can improve depression outcomes in primary care clinic settings by providing an intervention of modest intensity.


Development of a Tool for Diabetes Risk Assessment in Children


Principal investigator: Todd Varness, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Aaron Carrel, David B. Allen, Jens Eickhoff, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


Translating measurements that can be readily obtained in the community to a reliable indicator of the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes would be of great importance for community-based interventions for childhood obesity and diabetes prevention. The specific aim of this project is to develop and validate a cost-effective and feasible field-based tool for diabetes risk assessment in children. This project also engages schools, children, and parents as partners in the research process.


Patient-Centered Care for Children with Chronic Disease


Principal investigator: Elizabeth Cox, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Collaborators: Betty Chewning, UW School of Pharmacy; Mary Bekx, Ellen Connor, Mark Moss, Michael Rock, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; Roger Brown, UW School of Nursing, UW School of Medicine and Public Health


Children with chronic disease face complicated self-management regimens, often with dismal adherence. Patient-centered care (formation of a physician-patient relationship and patient participation in self-management decisions) could improve adherence and ultimately health outcomes. Cox will modify tools she developed to gauge decision-making in the pediatric primary-care setting to assess participation in deliberation for families facing chronic disease management.


Date Published: 04/17/2008

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