Research Wire

The very latest Washington University research news

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4.22.19
David Ornitz, MD, PhD, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Developmental Biology, received a two-year, $456,853 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his project titled “Signaling mechanisms and mouse models for insulin-mediated pseudoacromegaly.”


4.15.19
Roch Guérin, chair of computer science and engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering and the Harold B. & Adelaide G. Welge Professor of Computer Science, received a $48,506 grant from Google to study networks that connect data centers.

The grant will fund research aimed at making communication in these networks more efficient, getting information where it needs to go in time while also using less bandwidth during peak times, thereby lowering costs.


4.12.19
Alian Wang, research professor in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, received a $149,000 grant from NASA/JPL toward research on compact integrated raman spectrometry (CIRS).


4.10.19
Catherine Tang, a graduate student working with Todd Braver, professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences, received a $39,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health for a project titled “Examining mindfulness training effects and mechanisms on cognitive control.”


4.2.19
Alexander S. Bradley, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, received a $540,000 grant from the Simons Foundation in support of research on the biogeochemical consequences of metabolic heterogeneity and marine microbial carbon degradation.


4.1.19
Ebony Carter, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, won a $1.625 million five-year Pathway to Stop Diabetes® grant from the American Diabetes Association.

Carter will use the funding for her clinical research project, titled “Targeted lifestyle change group prenatal care for obese women at high risk for gestational diabetes: a randomized controlled trial.” Read more from the School of Medicine.


3.29.19
Rita Parai, assistant professor of geochemistry in Arts & Sciences, received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration for a project titled “Seeing through the fission: Multi-modal analyses of actinides and noble gas isotopes in geological samples.”


3.29.19
Manel Errando, research scientist and lecturer in physics in Arts & Sciences, received a $363,000 award from NASA in support of developing thin-film polymer actuators for high-resolution X-ray optics.


3.25.19
A study by Washington University School of Medicine researchers has been recognized as a 2019 top 20 clinical research study by the Clinical Research Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting support for clinical research and its impact on health. Studies are chosen to highlight major advances in health and medicine due to the country’s investment in research. Read more from the School of Medicine.


3.12.19
Timothy Wencewicz, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences, received a $10,000 award from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation to collaborate on a project seeking to identify optimal opiate disposal.


3.11.19
Arpita Bose, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, received a $7,500 award from the U.S. Army to support research on understanding how microbes interact with charged surfaces.


3.7.19
Mario Feldman, associate professor of molecular microbiology at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, $3.3 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study urinary tract infections caused by the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii. 


3.6.19
Michael Nowak, research professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, received $25,500 to collaborate with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory on a project titled “Investigating new integral sources with Chandra.” Nowak also received $10,000 to work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology on a project titled “Using NuSTAR to assess the mass, spin, distance, and FeLine of 4U 1957+11.”


2.28.19
Desiree White, professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences, received a  $130,500 grant from the National PKU Alliance for a project titled “Validation of the NIH Toolbox for use in phenylketonuria clinical trials.”


2.28.19
Victoria May, assistant dean in Arts & Sciences and executive director of the Institute for School Partnership, received $325,000 from Monsanto in support of scaling up the MySci program, which equips elementary school teachers with instructional materials and professional development opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). May also received a $50,000 grant from the Bellwether Foundation to support STEM education.


2.25.19
Weikai Li, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, along with Michael L. Gross, professor of chemistry in Arts & sciences and of immunology and medicine at the School of Medicine, received a four-year $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences for research titled “New chemical probes enable mass spectrometry-based footprinting of human protein structure in lipid membranes and cells.”


2.22.19
Hong Chen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering and of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine, received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The research will fund a broader understanding of Chen’s earlier work combining intranasal drug delivery and focused ultrasound (FUSIN). It will also combine her latest research in imaging toward developing image-guided drug delivery.


2.19.19
Yuan-Chuan Tai, associate professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, $2.6 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Cancer Institute in support of a research project titled “Translation of Virtual-Pinhole Magnifying PET Technology to Clinical Whole-Body Cancer Imaging.” The technology development could benefit cancer patients who rely on whole-body PET/CT imaging for optimal management of their diseases.


2.13.19
Farrokh Dehdashti, MD, professor of radiology and senior vice chair and division director of nuclear medicine, along with Kian H. Lim, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, and Yongjian Liu, associate professor of radiology, all at the School of Medicine, were awarded a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Cancer Institute for “Novel CCR2 PET for Pancreatic Cancer Imaging and Prediction of Response to Standard and CCR2-Targeted Therapy.”


2.6.19
Adam Q. Bauer, assistant professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, received a $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for a research project titled “Optogenetic Mapping of Cell Specific Connections in the Mouse Brain After Stroke.” Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. The project will study how changes in the brain following ischemic stroke may influence recovery.


2.5.19
Andrea Soranno, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine, received a three-year, $150,000 research grant from the Alzheimer’s Association for his work titled “Conformational analysis of ApoE isoforms and their role in AD mechanism.”


1.14.19
Weikai Li, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, along with Rui Zhang, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, both at the School of Medicine, received a new three-year, $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation for their research titled “Terminal coupling enabled structure determination of human membrane proteins at atomic resolution.”

In addition, Li received a four year nearly $1.6 million renewal grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Structural and Functional Basis of the Vitamin K Cycle.”


1.2.19
The National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded two grants, totaling about $3.7 million each, to study the link between sugar breakdown and the aging brain. One study, led by Andrei Vlassenko, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, and Manu Goyal, MD, assistant professor of radiology, both at the School of Medicine, will investigate how the brain uses glucose and oxygen to maintain its health during aging, and how glucose and oxygen use changes as people with Alzheimer’s disease get worse. The other study, led by Vlassenko and Marcus Raichle, MD, professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, will measure how much glucose the brain uses, and for what purposes, in order to assess whether glucose usage can be used to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.


12.20.18
Olga Pravdivtseva, research associate professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, received a three-year, $1.19 million grant from NASA to support research on I-Xe dating of alteration in CK and CV carbonaceous chondrites, which are a type of meteorite.


12.19.18
Eugene Oltz, professor of pathology and immunology, and Marco Colonna, MD, the Robert Rock Belliveau, MD, Professor of Pathology, both at the School of Medicine, received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study how immune cells balance the need for a robust defense against infection against the risk of tissue damage. The study will focus on gene expression in cells implicated in inflammatory bowel disease.


12.17.18
Ilya Monosov, assistant professor of neuroscience at the School of Medicine, received a three-year, $300,000 McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award to study how the brain seeks, values and uses information to resolve uncertainty about the future. This work can help shed light on disorders that arise from maladaptive decision-making and poor risk/reward assessment.


 12.14.18
Lori Markson, associate professor and director of graduate studies, and Rebecca Schwarzlose, postdoctoral research associate, both in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences, received $49,000 from the Russell Sage Foundation for a research project titled “Conceptual understanding of skin color inheritance among American children and adults.”


12.13.18
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)‘s National Institute on Aging has awarded a $3.3 million grant to Susan Stark, associate professor of occupational therapy, and Beau Ances, MD, PhD, the Daniel J. Brennan, MD, Professor of Neurology, both at the School of Medicine, to assess whether falls can be used to predict onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.


12.12.18
Jason Hassenstab, assistant professor of neurology at the School of Medicine, has received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)‘s National Institute on Aging to develop a smartphone app to assess cognition in people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


12.6.18
Gautam Dantas, professor of pathology and immunology at the School of Medicine, has received a $1.9 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the occupational exposure of dairy farm-workers to antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and infectious diseases from cows. The project also will communicate these risks to dairy farmers with a goal of reducing cow-to-farmer transmission. Dantas also received a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense to study the role of the gut microbiome in protecting people from diarrheal disease. The study also will look at the factors that put people at risk for diarrhea — and especially antibiotic-resistant infections — during travel.


12.5.18
Damena Agonafer, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, received an $86,000 grant from Google Inc. to develop a prototype device to help cool microprocessors.

He seeks to develop a direct two-phase cooling solution by designing a bioinspired evaporative microheat exchanger. The design channels properties of a 400-million-year-old arthropod called a springtail, which lives in damp soil and has skin that repels liquid. Read more on the engineering website.


11.26.18
Christine Pham, MD, director of the rheumatology division, and Deborah Lenschow, MD, PhD, associate professor, both in the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine, have been awarded a $3.1 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to establish a rheumatic diseases research center. The center will provide resources to accelerate basic and translational research into rheumatic diseases, potentially improving treatment for people suffering from arthritis, lupus, vasculitis, which is inflammation of the blood vessels, and scleroderma, an autoimmune disease characterized by hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues.


11.21.18
The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Corina Anastasaki, a senior scientist in neurology at the School of Medicine, $786,000 to develop human stem-cell models to study cancers of the nervous system caused by mutations in the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene. The goal is to understand why mutations in the same gene manifest differently and pave the way toward personalized medicine for NF1.


11.20.18
Erika Waters, associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, received a four-year, $2.58 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Child Asthma Exacerbation: Role of Caregiver Risk Beliefs.” Read more on the NIH website.


11.20.18
Ying Liu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, received a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project titled “Residential Mobility, Treatment Quality and Survival in Low-Income Women with Breast Cancer.” Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery, is a co-investigator.


11.20.18
Hongxi Yin, InCEES associate professor of architecture at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, received an $89,766 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a thermoelectric (TE) concrete brick for the construction of building exterior envelopes. Yin will study the thermal and energy behavior of TE concrete envelopes using building energy simulation tools, and researchers will survey people to evaluate the product’s thermal comfort aspects.


11.19.18
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $3.5 million grant to study how live bacteria can be used for drug delivery to Gautam Dantas, professor of pathology and immunology, and Thaddeus Stappenbeck, the Conan Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, both at the School of Medicine, and Tae Seok Moon, associate professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science. The aim is to develop probiotic treatments for the metabolic disorder phenylketonuria and other diseases.


11.14.18
Alison Cahill, MD, associate professor, and Yong Wang, assistant professor, both of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, $3.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for a project titled “Applying diffusion basis spectrum imaging to characterize human placenta immuno-response during normal term and preterm pregnancies.”


11.13.18
Philip Skemer, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, won a $14,000 grant from the Missouri Space Grant Consortium in support of augmented reality tools for visualization, teaching and data exploration in the planetary sciences. The funds will allow expanded student and faculty use of the Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration.


11.9.18
James DuBois, the Steven J. Bander Professor of Medical Ethics and Professionalism at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute on Aging for a research project titled “Implementing Evidence-based Informed Consent Practices to Address the Risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia and Cognitive Impairment in Clinical Trials.”


11.9.18
Blair Madison, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the School of Medicine, has received a four-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society to study the effects of microRNAs in the course and prognosis of colorectal cancer. The grant will fund studies to engineer and analyze mouse models, with a goal of identifying fluctuations in microRNA levels that may lead to the genesis and later development of colorectal tumors.


11.8.18
Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, and Peter D. Panagos, MD, professor of emergency medicine, both at the School of Medicine, received a $1.2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to establish the Mid-America Regional Coordinating Center as part of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s StrokeNet. StrokeNet is a group of 25 leading U.S. medical centers with the goal of developing, promoting and conducting high-quality, multisite clinical trials focused on key interventions in stroke prevention, treatment and recovery. Learn more about the project on the StrokeNet website.


11.8.18
Douglas A. Wiens, the Robert S. Brookings Distinguished Professor in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, will undertake a collaborative research project titled “Investigating ice sheet-solid Earth feedbacks in West Antarctica: Implications for ice sheet evolution and stability,” with a $424,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.


11.7.18
Andrea Soranno, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine, received a one year $46,296 New Investigator Award in Alzheimer’s Disease from the American Federation for Aging Research Inc. for his work titled “Identifying Neurotoxic Conformers in the Structural Ensemble of apoE.”


11.6.18
Mikhail Berezin, associate professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, received a $300,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Cancer Institute for research titled “Neuro-muscular junction based mechanism of chemotherapy-induced cachexia.” Cachexia-related changes reduce physical, emotional and social well-being and significantly decrease the chances of survival in millions of cancer patients.

Separately, Berezin received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “Interactive Software for Hyperspectral Image Analysis.” The project aims to set a new software architecture capable of analyzing complex and computationally challenging datasets recorded by hyperspectral imaging systems.


11.5.18
Richard D. Vierstra, the George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor in the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences, received a $304,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a project titled “Phytochromes: Structural perspectives on photoactivation and signaling.” Vierstra was also granted $49,000 from the NIH to study autophagic clearance of inactive proteasomes and ribosomes as models for protein quality control.


See more in the Research Wire Archive