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ITHS Welcomes Our 2021 Pilot Awardees

ITHS Welcomes Our 2021 Pilot Awardees

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences is pleased to announce the 2021 Pilot Award recipients. Applicants were selected from across a broad range of disciplines spanning the translational science spectrum, including basic research, clinical implementation, public health, and clinical and pre-clinical research.

Investigators supported by the Pilot Program are expanding knowledge in rural health care delivery, tissue bioengineering, suicide prevention, epilepsy, cardiology, and diabetes.

Our Pilot Program is designed to encourage highly innovative, interdisciplinary collaborative research that shows promise to improve human health

“Our Pilot Program is designed to encourage highly innovative, interdisciplinary collaborative research that shows promise to improve human health,” said Paul Martin, MD, faculty director of the ITHS Pilot Award program and Co-Principal Investigator of ITHS. Dr. Martin is a Member at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and former Medical Director of Clinical Research Support.

Pilot funding allows investigators to obtain preliminary data to establish a proof of concept and seek larger funding from external sources. As summarized below, Pilot Awards during this cycle will support a variety of projects in three categories: Collaboration Innovation, Academic & Community Partnerships, and Special Emphasis on Diabetes.

Collaboration & Innovation Awardees

This year ITHS has chosen 10 investigators to receive the Collaboration Innovation Award. This award encourages the development of new interdisciplinary collaborations between investigators. Here are our 2021 awardees and their project titles:

  1. Investigators: Kristin Anderson, PhD & Venu Pillarisetty, MD, FACS
    Project: Engineering T cells to overcome Fas-mediated limits to the efficacy of adoptive cell therapy against ovarian cancer
  2. Investigators: Patrick Boyle, PhD & Nazem Akoum, MD, MS
    Project: Identifying Mechanisms of Persistent Atrial Fibrillation Recurrence After Catheter Ablation
  3. Investigators: Cole DeForest, PhD & William Grady, MD
    Project: Cancer Biology in 4D: Resolving TGF-beta Signaling Paradoxes in Colorectal Cancer using User-Programmable Biomaterials
  4. Investigators: Masaoki Kawasumi, MD, PhD & Oleg Denisenko, PhD
    Project: Tumor epigenetic maps with single-cell resolution to assess melanoma malignancy
  5. Investigators: Jeffrey Tsai, MD, PhD & Scott Murray, PhD
    Project: Neural Suppression and Facilitation in Human Epileptic Networks
Academic & Community Partnership Awardees

This year ITHS has chosen 2 investigators for the Academic/Community Partnership Research Award. This award supports the development of collaborations between academic investigators and community-based organizations. The proposed work focuses on a problem, issue, or intervention important to the community. Here are our 2021 awardees and their project titles:

  1. Investigator: Doyanne Darnell, PhD
    Project: Community-Academic Partnership to Prevent Suicide (CAPPS)
  2. Investigator: Kushang Patel, PhD, MPH
    Project: Implementation of Tele-Exercise for Management of Knee Osteoarthritis in Older Rural Primary Care Patients
Special Emphasis Diabetes Awardee

The ITHS Translational Pilot Award with a Special Emphasis on Diabetes, offered in conjunction with the Diabetes Research Center, supports studies that address impactful research issues within the translational science spectrum, with the long-term goal of improving the health of patients with diabetes.

  1. Investigator: Jie (Jack) Sun, MD
    Project: Does IDL-APOC3 associate with atherosclerosis progression in type 2 diabetes?

ITHS congratulates all Pilot Program awardees and wish them the best in their endeavors. As Dr. Martin puts it, “Collectively, the projects funded this year have translational potential and significance extending across the spectrum from basic cell biology to clinical implementation. We look forward to seeing these efforts brought closer to fruition.”