By Wendy Sarubbi | November 3, 2014 1:25 pm

The College of Medicine has awarded $200,000 in internal research grants to help faculty test new hypotheses and begin new collaborative research projects that could generate national funding in the future.

Thirteen faculty members received this year’s internal grants for projects ranging from 3D modeling of human noses to better treatments for arthritis pain.

Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, interim associate dean for research, said this year’s grant awards have several unique features. First, every project involves at least one undergraduate, graduate or M.D. student. And all grant projects include collaboration between researchers across the College of Medicine, UCF and even the community. For example, one of the grant recipients is Dr. Julie Wei, of Nemours Children’s Hospital, who will do a collaborative study with College of Medicine researchers on the biomedical effects of high-sugar diets on children.

“These grants are seed money for faculty to begin work that has the opportunity to bring even larger dollars in the future,” he said. In addition, for the first time this year, grant recipients will receive support and training in grant management so they gain experience in managing research budgets, equipment and personnel.

Dr. Parthasarathy said the internal grants will help provide support for new ideas that might not otherwise have a chance at being investigated. “Many times scientists have a novel and interesting idea,” he said. “But often those ideas die because there is no support to help get them started. These grants will help our faculty test a novel new idea or hypothesis or do a critical experiment that will put the whole puzzle together.”

The grant recipients are:

  •  Deborah Altomare, “Development of a 3-D system to study pancreatic stellate cells”
  • Shazia Beg, “Identifying the genetic sequence and source of the DNA antigenic component of the anti-DNA immune complexes in systemic lupus erythematosus in order to establish the role of exogenous antigens evoking molecular mimicry response in human SLE disease pathogenesis”
  • Shazia Beg, “Technology-Assisted Multifaceted Group Intervention for Chronic Arthritic Pain: Feasibility in a Primary Care Setting”
  • Maria Cannarozzi, “Shared Medical Appointments for Type 2 Diabetes: Examining Potential Increases in Patient Involvement, Patient Satisfaction and Quality of Life”
  • Karl Chai, “Novel Proteolytic Mechanism To Prevent HIV-I Infection”
  • Ratna Chakrabarti, “MicroRNA Regulation of Oncolytic SV5 Vectors
  • Alexander Cole, “A novel 3-dimensional bioengineered human nose to accurately model nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus”
  • Alicja Copik, “Determining the mechanism(s) of plasma membrane particle stimulated natural killer cell expansion”
  • Steve Ebert, “Novel Neurological Connections Critical for Gaiting and Feeding Behaviors”
  • Annette Khaled, “Targeting Therapeutic Agents to Breast Cancer using the Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 1 (GRM-1)”
  • Annette Khaled, “Evaluating Chaperonin-containing T complex (CCT) as a novel biomarker for metastatic cancer”
  • Michael Lee, “Elucidation of Therapeutic Peptide Binding Partners from Isolated Mitochondria”
  • Otto Phanstiel, “Development of new acid sphingomyelinase inhibitors and their use as anti-HIV agents”
  • Kyle Rohde, “Exploiting a Novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis Virulence Factor to Discover New Drugs Against TB”
  • Julie Wei, “Changes in Inflammatory Markers in Serum of Children Based on Sugar and Carbohydrate Beverage Consumption”
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