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$480,000 in seed funding awarded for medical research
By Chris Barnett / June 21, 2016 /   Loading Disqus...
The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $480,000 in seed funding for 20 promising medical research projects ranging from reducing heart failure among people who are overweight to developing stress-reduction techniques to prevent pre-term births.

The grants are intended to help early-career researchers advance projects to the point where they can compete for national funding. With this round of funding, the Foundation has awarded $1.9 million since 2008.

“Due to the generosity of our visionary donors, we are able to award important early funding to local researchers working to advance medical breakthroughs,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Many donors believe that medical research is one of our state’s strongest sectors and make it possible to underwrite this promising work.”

A review panel made up of scientists and physicians assisted the Foundation in reviewing the medical research proposals. The grants are:

• $25,000 to Brown University Department of Neuroscience for the research project entitled “Multiple functions of the cell adhesion molecule TAG-1 in motor circuit development” led by Alexander Jaworski, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Brown University Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences for the research project entitled “Examining How Autism Spectrum Disorders Affect Social Causal Learning” led by Joseph Austerweil, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Brown University School of Engineering for the research project entitled “Temporal Geometric Control of Stem Cell Chondrogenesis for Osteoarthritis Therapy” led by Anita Shukla, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Brown University for the research project entitled “Regulation of human neural stem cell function by the pro-longevity FOXO transcription factors” led by Ashley Webb, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Brown University School of Engineering for the research project entitled “Microscopic in vivo imaging of cerebral dynamics in ischemic stroke” led by Jonghwan Lee, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Miriam Hospital for the research project entitled “Addressing sexual networks and the burden of sexually transmitted diseases in Providence, Rhode Island” led by Philip Chan, M.D., MS.

• $25,000 to Miriam Hospital for the research project entitled “Fecal Microbiota Transplant by Enema in Severe Clostridium difficile Infection” led by Colleen Kelly, M.D.

• $24,334 to Miriam Hospital for the research project entitled “Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction to Prevent Preterm Birth” led by Margaret Bublitz, Ph.D.

• $24,758 to Ocean State Research Institute, Inc. for the research project entitled “Magnesium Supplementation for Primary Prevention of Heart Failure in Obesity” led by Siddique Abbasi, M.D.

• $25,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “Targeting aspartate-beta hydroxylase as a chemoprevention for cholangiocarcinoma” led by Chiung-Kuei Huang, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “BKCa activation and metabolic syndrome- induced vasomotor dysfunction” led by Richard Clements, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “IRE1 branch of the unfolded protein response and arrhythmias” led by Man Liu, PhD.

• $25,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “Elucidating How Matrilin-3 Prevents Accelerated Osteoarthritis” led by Chathuraka Jayasuriya, Ph.D.

• $25,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “miR-146a prevents cartilage degeneration in mouse osteoarthritis model” led by Yingjie Guan, M.D., Ph.D.

• $22,222 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “Home Blood Pressure Monitoring to Track Post-Discharge Blood Pressures In At Risk Individuals” led by Elizabeth Goldberg, M.D.

• $22,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “Caenorhabditis elegans as a host model to study multi-drug resistance in Candida glabrata” led by Dimitrios Farmakiotis, M.D.

• $15,000 to Rhode Island Hospital for the research project entitled “Merging a National Hospital Trauma Registry with Post-Acute Care Data in Older Adults with TBI” led by Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE.

• $24,947 to URI Foundation for the research project entitled “Improving influenza vaccine efficacy in the elderly with a novel physical adjuvant” led by Xinyuan Chen, Ph.D.

• $23,695 to URI Foundation for the research project entitled “Use of Gold Nanoparticles to Enhance the Effect of Radiation on Cancer” led by Michael Antosh, Ph.D.

• $24,598 to Women & Infants Hospital for the research project entitled “Initiating metformin after delivery in post-partum women at high risk for diabetes mellitus: A Pilot Study” led by Erika Werner, M.D.

The funding came through 16 endowments at the Foundation that help medical researchers win permanent funding from national sources. They are the Alice W. Bliss Memorial Fund, Charles V. Chapin Fellowship Fund, Anne Elizabeth Chase Fund, Samuel J. and Ester Chester Medical Research Fund, Gilbert J. Clappin, Jr. Memorial Fund, Frieda Dengal Fund, Charles Goss Memorial Fund, Haire Family Fund, Herbert E. Hopkins Fund, Alice Newton Fund, Esther S. Phillips Fund, Phebe Parker Fund, Edythe and Jane Richmond Cancer Fund, Colonel Lee Walton and Xenia Roberts Memorial Fund, John O. Strom M.D. Memorial Fund and Mary A. Young Cancer Fund.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.
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