Neurobiology Research Center Awards 8 Peer-Reviewed Pilot Grants

Neurobiology Research Center 2015 Pilot Grant Winners

Grant award winners, from left: Nazanin Majd, MD, PhD; Brian Scott Katz, MD; Kari Dunning, PT, PhD; Adam Funk, PhD; Hilary Perez, PhD; Robert McCullumsmith, MD, PhD; Jon Dudley, PhD; Sheila Fleming, PhD; Kim Seroogy, PhD; Ying Sun, PhD; Michael Williams, PhD. Not pictured: Alberto Espay, MD, MS; Charles Vorhees, PhD; Brett Kissela, MD, MS; Jason McMullan, MD, and Atsuo Sasaki, PhD.

The Neurobiology Research Center at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Gardner Neuroscience Institute this year awarded a record eight peer-reviewed pilot grants. That is more than double the number awarded in the past three years combined, demonstrating the level of interest and commitment in neuroscience research. The awards this year total $200,000.

“The goal of these pilot grants is to provide seed money for projects that have legs and will hopefully attract national funding,” said James Herman, PhD, director of the Neurobiology Research Center.

“A second important goal is to encourage collaborative research and build team science. The Neurobiology Research Center aims to bring together investigators from across departments, colleges and institutions to further collaborative thinking and development of leading research in the neurosciences.”

Funding for the grants came from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine ($50,000), the George Wile Fund for neuroscience basic research ($50,000), the Sunflower Revolution Fund ($50,000) and the Meshewa Farm Foundation for research in stroke ($50,000).

2015 Neurobiology Research Center Pilot Grants

Oxidative Stress in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
This study will characterize longitudinal alterations in the brain bioenergetics and intracellular redox state in the brain of amyloid-beta overexpressing Tg2576 mice using phosphorus-31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Principal Investigator: Jon Dudley, PhD

Treating Bacterial Overgrowth in Parkinson’s Disease
This study tests the hypothesis that Parkinson’s patients who test positive for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) will exhibit an improvement in motor symptoms following eradication of SIBO with the antibiotic Rifaximin.
Principal Investigator: Alberto Espay, MD
Co-Investigator: Hilary Perez, PhD

Expression of ATP13A2 as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Parkinson’s Disease
This grant investigates the therapeutic potential of overexpression of ATP13A2 using viral vector technology on alpha-synuclein pathology in the mouse.
Principal Investigator: Sheila Fleming, PhD
Co-Investigator: Ying Sun, PhD

Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of the PSD-95 Interactome in Schizophrenia
This study will use affinity purification from brain samples of normal and schizophrenia subjects, coupled with mass-spectrometry, to identify differential protein-protein interactions of synaptic proteins relevant for cognition.
Principal Investigator: Adam Funk, PhD
Co-Investigator: Robert McCullumsmith, MD, PhD

Developmental Manganese and Parkinson’s Disease
The goal of this study is to determine if early-life overexposure to the heavy metal manganese is an environmental factor contributing to the development of Parkinson’s disease.
Principal Investigator: Kim Seroogy, PhD
Co-Investigator: Michael Williams, PhD, and Charles Vorhees, PhD

Priming the Brain for Stroke Recovery
The objective of this proposal is to determine the effects of high-intensity aerobic exercise on blood biomarkers (e.g., brain-derived neurotrophic factor) release and cortical priming among people who have suffered a stroke.
Principal Investigator: Kari Dunning, PT, PhD
Co-Investigator: Brett Kissela, MD, MS

Development of a Prehospital Stroke Sensitivity Scale
This project is designed to gather pilot prospective validation data of a clinical scale to assist prehospital providers’ triage of acute stroke patients.
Principal Investigator: Jason McMullan, MD
Co-Investigator: Brian Scott Katz, MD

Targeting a Novel Target for Treatment of Glioblastoma Patients
The project aims to develop a new therapy for glioma using FDA-approved drug that targets glioma specific GTP-metabolism.
Principal Investigator: Nazanin Majd, MD, PhD
Co-Investigator: Atsuo Sasaki, PhD

— Audrey Ronis-Tobin

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