BioE Faculty Receive Cross-Disciplinary Seed Grants

news story image

University of Maryland Vice President of Research Mel Bernstein, one of the people behind the new program, speaks at a reception to honor grant recipients.

Three Fischell Department of Bioengineering professors were co-PIs of research teams awarded seed grants of up to $75K through a new joint initiative between the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB). The initiative’s goals are to foster teams of investigators crossing disciplinary boundaries and campuses, establish specific research foci, generate preliminary data, and submit research proposals to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) extramural program, which targets teams of scientists, engineers, and clinicians who address specific health issues. Research teams were required to include at least one co-PI from each campus.

Assistant Professor Adam Hsieh's team received a grant for its proposal, "G610C Mice: An OI Model for Phenotype Variation," which seeks to examine how a gene mutation identified in an Old Amish community, knocked-in to mice for the study, influences the development of a disease called osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), which leads to brittle bones. In the Old Amish community, only some individuals develop OI, and the aim of this study is to determine what other genetic factors need to be coupled with this mutation to lead to disease. Hsieh’s co-PIs are Assistant Professor Daniel McBride Professor Alan R. Shuldiner, M.D. Both McBride and Shudiner are from the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, at the UMB School of Medicine.

Professor Peter Kofinas' group's proposal, "Molecular imprinted polymer coatings to enhance the biocompatibilit of artificial lungs," describes the development of an artificial pump lung (APL), a device capable of providing oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange for patients suffering from compromised lung function. His co-PIs are Professor Bartley P. Griffith, M.D. and Dr. Trevor Snyder, both from UMB’s School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery.

Assistant Professor Sameer Shah and co-PI Professor Robert J. Bloch's (Department of Physiology, UMB School of Medicine) proposal, "Contributions of Intermediate Filaments to Skeletal Muscle Myopathy," addresses hypotheses regarding the roles of structural proteins called intermediate filaments in the stability and function of skeletal muscle.

All seed grant recipients were recently honored at a reception hosted by the University of Maryland's Vice President of Research Mel Bernstein, who encouraged continued and expanding collaboration between departments and schools on both campuses concerned with human health. Two years in planning, this fiscal year was the first for the seed grant program. Bernstein expressed a desire to see it continue.

Published December 6, 2007