CTSI Announces 2013 Faculty Pilot Funding Awardees

Three URMC faculty members earned CTSI pilot awards for 2013-2014. The CTSI’s pilot program offers faculty members one year awards for up to $50,000, to obtain new skills, develop technologies, generate critical preliminary clinical data, test new collaborative approaches, and create new outcome assessments and biomedical informatics advances. Click here to see the newly-released RFA for 2014 pilot awards. The 2013 faculty awardees are:

BurackW. Richard Burack, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Project: Quantifying Tumor Diversity to predict and target Cancer progression
Identifying the basis for genetic diversification of tumor genomes would have a far-reaching impact on cancer prognostics and potentially for cancer maintenance therapies. The data from this study could directly affect clinical trial planning for the most prevalent non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, affecting more than 250,000 Americans who are living with follicular lymphoma.

CalviLaura Calvi, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine (Endocrinology)
Project: Osteoblastic Function in Human Leukemia
Emerging data suggest that leukemia inhibits the function of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells), which in turn decreases support for normal hematopoiesis (the formation of blood cellular components) while fostering the resistance of leukemia stem cells to chemotherapy. Therapies restoring normal function in this setting are lacking. If inhibition of bone-forming cells in Acute Myeloid Luekemia (AML) is confirmed and reversible, Dr. Calvi’s strategy would develop highly innovative targets for AML treatment, which will mitigate bone marrow failure and improve therapeutic response.

smrckaAlan Smrcka, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology and Physiology
Project: Inhibition of G protein beta/gamma signaling as a therapeutic approach to treatment of lupus
This project proposes a translational combination of basic science pharmacology and clinical Rheumatology, combining expertise in pre-clinical animal models, developing proof of concept human clinical trials (with co-investigator Dr. Jennifer Anolik) and expertise in manipulation and analysis of chemokine signaling pathways (Dr. Alan Smrcka). Additionally, a specific oral agent for the treatment of lupus would be truly novel.

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