Grants: Aug. 23, 2016

Portrait photo of Donna ZhangDonna Zhang, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is the principal investigator on two new R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health which will provide more than $3,000,000 in funding for her research.

The first project is “Nrf2, Autophagy and Arsenic Carcinogenesis.” The objective of the research is to investigate the detailed mechanism by which arsenic causes lung cancer. In turn, this will allow investigators to identify markers of exposure to identify populations at risk of developing arsenic-induced lung cancer, as well as to develop tailored therapies for the individuals who have already developed arsenic-induced lung cancer. This project is funded by grant number 1R01 ES0268745, NIH/NIEHS for $1,695,690 over five years.

The second project is "Arsenic, Nrf2 and Autophagy Dysfunction in Type II Diabetes." The objective of the research is to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which arsenic alters the proteotoxic and oxidative stress responses to determine if these alterations aid to the onset and progression of diabetes. This project is funded by grant number 1R01 DK109555, NH/NIDDK for $1,896,710 over five years.

Heidi Mansour, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, recently received three new grants. Mansour’s first project, “Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development of Nox4 Inhibitors for Pulmonary Fibrosis,” focuses on drug discovery and delivery of novel inhibitors that target the Nox4 in pulmonary fibrosis. Funded by the BIO5 Institute, this grant is worth $150,000.

Mansour’s second project is called “Advanced Spray Drying Particle Engineering Design for Pulmonary Delivery.” With this project, Mansour received a Minority Health Disparities (MHD) student stipend and lab supplies as part of her grant from the National Science Foundation. The project supports stellar MHD student researchers doing cutting edge research in the lab and presenting at the National Science Foundation Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (NSF WAESO LSAMP) Research Symposium in National Harbor, Maryland in 2016. 

“NIH BUILDing SCHOLARS-UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) Minority Health Disparities” is the title of Mansour’s last project. As the previous grant does, this one provides an MHD student stipend and lab supplies, as well as a mentoring stipend. The project allows MHD students from UTEP to do research in Mansour’s lab. It is funded by The National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. (Grant number: RL5GM118969, TL4GM118971, and UL1GM118970). 

Jason Karnes, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, is a recipient of a Scientist Development grant from the American Heart Association. The title of Karnes’ study is “Immunogenetics of Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia.” It is funded for $231,000 over three years. The goal of the research is to understand why some people treated with the drug heparin react with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Learning this will help find treatment and potentially prevent the devastating effects of the reaction.

Khalid Eljaaly, PharmD, CAPPS, BCPS, is a research scholar and post-doctoral pharmacy fellow with focus on infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship. He was awarded a Trainee Travel Grant from the Infectious Diseases Society of America in recognition of his research abstracts that were accepted into the IDWeek2016 conference held in New Orleans, LA.

Abstract 58628, “Impact of Requiring Reapproval on Day Three of Restricted Antibiotic Therapy”, focuses on comparing an antimicrobial stewardship program that requires initial approval alone to one requiring initial and reapproval on day 3 of therapy. The intervention was associated with reduction in the overall consumption of restricted antibiotics, especially those covering Gram-negative bacteria and oral vancomycin. In addition, this intervention was associated with decreased LOS, without adversely affecting hospital mortality.

The objective of Abstract 58907, “Clinical Failure Rates with and without Atypical Coverage in Hospitalized Adults with Community Acquired Pneumonia: A Meta- Analysis”, is to evaluate the impact of antibiotic regimens with atypical coverage to a regimen without atypical antibiotic coverage on rates of clinical failure and mortality. This innovative meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials showed for the first time that empiric atypical coverage is associated with a significant reduction of clinical failure rates in hospitalized adults with CAP.  This supports the recommendations of current major guidelines.

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