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Penn State College of Medicine awarded more than $4.5 million in grants in August

Penn State College of Medicine received 67 grants in August 2019. Some investigators will use the funds to study health disparities in at-risk populations, while others will look for new interventions and treatments for disease.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Michael Dennis, PhD

Michael Dennis, PhD

Targeting the Etiology of Diabetic Retinopathy

Investigator: Michael Dennis, PhD, assistant professor of cellular and molecular physiology and ophthalmology

Grant amount: $378,560 ($1,890,849 anticipated through July 2024)

Awarded by: National Eye Institute

Goal: This project will investigate the early molecular events that may lead to the development of diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that can cause vision problems.

The goal is to find new targets that may be useful in creating new innovative therapies to prevent diabetic retinopathy.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Jennifer Moss

Jennifer Moss, PhD

Overcoming Barriers to Cancer Screening Among Women Living in Rural and Segregated Communities

Investigator: Jennifer Moss, PhD, assistant professor of family and community medicine and public health sciences

Grant amount: $194,944 ($584,832 anticipated through August 2022)

Awarded by: National Cancer Institute

Goal: This project will identify the barriers women living in rural and racially-segregated communities must overcome to obtain cancer screenings.

Moss will adapt educational materials and deliver screening kits to women in these at-risk communities.

She will also examine the feasibility of the interventions.

A head-and-shoulders professional picture of Yuval Silberman, PhD

Yuval Silberman, PhD

Cross sensitization of diet and alcohol on binge behaviors and metabolic dysfunction

Investigator: Yuval Silberman, PhD, assistant professor of neural and behavioral sciences

Grant amount: $331,110 ($1,687,734 anticipated through August 2024)

Awarded by: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Goal: Obesity and alcoholism are two of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the United States and have similar and potentially interactive behavioral and metabolic symptoms.

Using animal models, the project will investigate how diet and alcohol interact to promote changes in cellular function in key brain regions.

Silberman hopes to determine new targets for treating these diseases, both separately and together.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Guohong Li, MD, PhD

Guohong Li, MD, PhD

Combined Ultrasound and Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography System for Imaging Small Animals

Investigator: Guohong Li, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery

Grant amount: $600,000

Awarded by: National Institutes of Health Office of the Director

Goal: The College of Medicine will use these funds to acquire a photoacoustic scanner, which uses light to generate sound waves to produce a detailed image of tissues.

This technology will be a resource for Penn State researchers to collect real-time, high-resolution data when studying the progression of cancer, stroke, diabetes and other diseases in laboratory animals.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Amanda Pearl, PhD

Amanda Pearl, PhD

Increasing Community Participation in Young Adults with Autism Living in Rural Communities

Investigator: Amanda Pearl, MS, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry

Grant amount: $200,000 ($599,998 anticipated through September 2021)

Awarded by: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Goal: This study will assess whether an intervention to promote community participation is effective among young adults with autism spectrum disorder living in rural areas.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Jonathan Foulds, PhD

Jonathan Foulds, PhD

Randomized trial of low nicotine cigarettes plus electronic cigarettes in smokers with a mental health condition

Investigator: Jonathan Foulds, PhD, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry

Grant amount: $459,898 ($1,361,900 anticipated through July 2022)

Awarded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Goal: Legislation gave the Food and Drug Administration the ability to implement a cigarette product standard that would lower nicotine content.

This project will investigate how this policy might affect the tobacco use of smokers with mental health conditions when electronic cigarettes containing higher amounts of nicotine are still available.

Other Awards

Other notable grants awarded in August include:

  • Keith Cheng received $667,280 from the National Institutes of Health Office of the Director to continue work on his project, “Groundwork for a Synchrotron MicroCT imaging resource for biology.” Read more about this technology here.
  • Zhonghua Gao was awarded $386,026 by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for a project titled “Epigenetic regulation of cell identity by PRC1 complexes.”
  • Ping He received $712,513 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for a project called “Red blood cell released ATP in disturbed blood flow-initiated site specific vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.”
  • Philippe Haouzi secured $197,900 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for a project titled “The cyclic redox dye Azure B as a novel cyanide antidote: in vivo efficacy studies.”
  • Robert Dowling was awarded $558,924 by BiVACOR Inc. for the project “Implantation of experimental Total Artificial Heart.”
  • See details on grants and contracts awarded to the College of Medicine from 2017 to present here.

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