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Indiana CTSI announces community and Alzheimer's research grant awardees

May 16, 2013

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, a partnership among Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, has announced the recipients of four grants totalling $100,000 aimed at improving diseases related to aging and encouraging community-based research projects.

The Alzheimer Research Pilot Grant Program

The Alzheimer Research Pilot Grant Program is a joint initiative between the Indiana CTSI and Indiana Alzheimer Disease Research Center to support investigators working on translational research projects focused on Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or diffuse Lewy body disease, as well as other neurodegenerative or vascular dementias.

The program aims to provide funding that will allow investigators to obtain preliminary data that will likely lead to extramural funding or generate novel intellectual property. The award is based on the expectation that the Principal Investigator will be successful in obtaining data that will be used in submitting a new proposal to the National Institutes of Health or other external agency, or strengthening a resubmission of a previously proposed project. Each recipient will receive a total of $25,000:

Adrian Oblak

Adrian Oblak, Ph.D., will explore what makesome neurons are vulnerable to frontotemporal dementia.

Adrian Oblak, Ph.D., visiting assistant research professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the IU School of Medicine, will receive $25,000 to support a project titled "Cytoarchitecture analysis of tau distribution in FTD." Dr. Oblak's project will seek to understand how genetic, molecular and cellular factors build neural systems during development and become vulnerable to neurodegenerative disease in the future, especially frontotemporal dementia. The study will use brain tissue affected by familial and sporadic FTD to understand the selective vulnerability of neurons and assess the changes that are an outcome of the disease.

Kwangsik Nho, Ph.D., assistant research professor of radiology and imaging sciences at the IU School of Medicine, will receive $25,000 to support a project titled "Transcriptome Profiling in Mild Cognitive Impairment using RNA-Seq." Dr. Nho's project will perform the first blood-based transcriptome analysis to identify blood-based biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease progression which will help lead to improved early diagnosis. The study will use biological samples from a previously studied cohort of patients with prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease.

Indiana CTSI Community Health Engagement Program Pilot Grant Program

The Indiana CTSI Community Health Engagement Program Pilot Grant Program supports the development or implementation of  community-based research projects that involve collaboration between a local community organization and an academic partner aimed at improving community health or health care, or to perform a needed assessment of an existing program.

Awards are intended to progressively improve community health throughout the state of Indiana and foster public-private partnerships. Each project team will receive a total of $25,000:

Helen Sanematsu

Helen Sanematsu, MFA, will partner with Lisa Cole, manager of health promotions and community relations at IU Health.

Helen Sanematsu, M.F.A, assistant professor of visual communication design at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI, and Lisa Cole, manager of health promotions and community relations at Indiana University Health, will receive $25,000 to support a project titled "Health Matters." The project will focus on assessing dietary risk factors for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among under-served populations in cooperation with IU Health's Garden on the Go® program. The project will explore health perceptions among participants in the program and develop methods to more effectively tailor health-related messages and programs to under-served populations.

Nitesh Chawla, Ph.D., professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and Mark Kricheff, M.D., medical director for the Michiana Health Information Network, will receive $25,000 to support a project titled "Developing a Patient-Centric CBPR for Diabetics Management: A Digitized and Connected Approach." The project will leverage technology, analytics and existing databases to assist health care providers and patients in the most at-risk areas to manage diabetic conditions. In collaborating with Michiana Health Information Network, this project will improve diabetes management and investigate the challenges and benefits of using mobile health solutions to empower patients in their disease and lifestyle management.

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