Notre Dame Researchers receive Translational Training Awards

Author: Brandi Klingerman

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) awarded pre-doctoral training, post-doctoral training, and young investigator awards in translational research to four Notre Dame researchers. The training awards provide funding for research that is translational in nature, taking advantage of the clinical collaboration.

Kevin O’Brien, graduate student in the bioengineering program, has been granted a Pre-Doctoral Training Award in Translational Research for his work with Jim Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering. The award will support their research on improving the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries through their focus on modeling full-body dynamics to assess the effects of eccentric motor control rehabilitation.

The Post-Doctoral Training Awards in Translational Research recipients are Erin Howe, post-doctoral research associate of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Gail Weaver, post-doctoral associate of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences.

Howe, who works with Siyuan Zhang, Dee Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, will study breast cancer that has metastasized in the brain. Currently when patients reach this stage, median patient survival is less than a year. Howe aims to better understand how breast cancer cells adapt to survive in the brain, which could possibly help in the development of new treatments.

Weaver, who works with Joshua D. Shrout, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences, received her award for her collaboration with an orthopedic surgeon to study microbial communities that make up prosthetic joint infections. Gaining a better understanding of these infections is critical to improving treatment, as well as the prevention, of prosthetic joint infections.

Jeni Prosperi, adjunct assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame; and assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Indiana University School of Medicine – South Bend; and Harper Cancer Research Institute affiliated faculty member, received the Young Investigator Award. This award provides promising junior faculty with the opportunity to identify co-mentors, who are faculty investigators in research-intensive multi-disciplinary settings, with the goal of developing careers in clinical-translational research.

Prosperi’s study focuses on the ability of breast cancer patients to develop a resistance to chemotherapy. In her proposal, she hypothesizes that a protein known as APC is responsible for the resistance and plans to research how different drug combinations can be utilized to circumvent it.

The Indiana CTSI is a statewide collaboration between Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame, as well as public and private partnerships, whose mission is to strengthen and support the entire spectrum of translational research from scientific discovery to improved patient care. The Indiana CTSI provides funding opportunities for researchers and currently proposals for Pilot Funding for Research Use of Core Facilities, Community-Based Research Pilot Projects, and Project Development Team: Diagnostics and Therapeutics are open for applications.

If you would like to learn about other Indiana CTSI funding opportunities, please visit ctsi.nd.edu.

Originally published by Brandi Klingerman at ctsi.nd.edu on May 16, 2016.