Grants Awarded to School of Medicine Faculty

School of Medicine faculty earn grants to advance training, scientific discovery and medical technology

10/11/2010 - By: Anne McMillin

Bodily fluid warming devices for the battlefield and reduction of cardiovascular disease risk through lifestyle changes. These are just two of the research and education projects by faculty members from the University of Nevada School of Medicine that have been recently funded by grants.

John Fildes, M.D., professor of surgery, earned a $3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to finish the final revisions to a portable fluid infusion warmer and conduct safety and efficacy testing on the device for obtaining Food and Drug Administration approval. The School of Medicine Trauma Institute and Rocky Research, an engineering company in Boulder City, Nev., have developed this portable high speed blood and fluid infusion warmer prototype that can administer blood or fluids to critically injured soldiers at about 98.6oF to prevent hypothermia. This device operates with electrical power or a high power density thermal battery in locations without access to electrical power, such as the battlefield.

Patti Swager, M.Ed., director of the School of Medicine's Nevada Geriatric Education Center, was awarded a $2.1 million grant to develop interdisciplinary geriatrics training in falls, type 2 diabetes and co-morbidities, health literacy and general geriatrics care. Swager serves as the principal investigator for this five-year grant which is a partnership between the University of Nevada Reno, Touro University of Nevada and University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Dean Burkin, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology, earned a new two-year grant from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in the amount of $275,000 to investigate the therapeutic benefits of some new small molecules that his research team discovered in the mouse models for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. If successful these molecules may developed into new lines of drugs for muscular dystrophy patients.

In addition, Burkin's muscle cell-based test to screen novel drugs for the treatment of muscular dystrophy and understand integrin gene regulation has been selected to screen the large molecule libraries (around 350,000 compounds) at the NIH Chemical Genomics Center in Washington, DC and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Center in San Diego. He received a $50,000 supplemental grant to support this new drug discovery effort at these centers.

Doina Kulick, M.D., was awarded a $234,000 grant by National Center for Research Resources of the NIH as part of the Nevada IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence project housed at the School of Medicine under the direction of James Kenyon, Ph.D.

The award will fund a two-year translational research project for the cardiovascular risk reduction and lifestyle interventions in primary care. The study's goal is to close the gap between clinical research and practice in order to improve cardiovascular health. The objective of this study is to develop and test a new web-based dietary and physical activity counseling intervention that will be sustainable in the current health care environment.

This is an interdisciplinary project that brings together researchers in the area of medicine, clinical nutrition, computer science, and bioinformatics from the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of California, Davis.

Melissa Piasecki, M.D., Melissa O'Brien, the director of the School of Medicine's Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, and Richelle O'Driscoll, director of internal and external relations for the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno were awarded an interprofessional training grant for $49,600 from Pfizer. This grant will be applied toward developing a curriculum for faculty to create, deliver and evaluate simulation trainings with students from schools within the division. Starting next spring, the training program will create interprofessional teams with faculty from each of the divisional schools (nursing, social work, community science and medicine) which will develop clinical scenarios, evaluate student competencies and practice debriefing skills.

Grant funding is the fuel that drives the research enterprise and helps the School of Medicine attract the brightest and best faculty members to its campus. These faculty members, in turn, seek solutions to scientific and medical problems through discoveries and the application of those discoveries.


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