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College of Medicine researchers earn grants for basic, clinical research

Penn State College of Medicine investigators received 65 grant awards in May to pursue research studies that will advance the understanding of medical and scientific knowledge. Five notable grant awards include:

  • Dr. Scott Armen, chief of the Division of Trauma, Acute Care and Critical Care Surgery, received at $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command to develop a bioabsorbable foam that may expand and help stop bleeding from traumatic wounds, which could save lives on the battlefield or in remote areas with long transport times. This is year one of the three-year study titled “Bioabsorbable polysaccharide-polyelectrolyte foam for hemostatic applications in prolonged field care.” Armen collaborated with Dr. Melissa Linskey, a resident in the Department of Surgery and Dr. Jeffrey Catchmark of Penn State's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering on the study.
  • Dr. John Elfar, the Michael, Jr. and Myrtle Baker Professor in Orthopaedics and vice chair for research, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, received a $782,492 grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command for his study titled, “Rapid classification and treatment of battlefield nerve injuries: Drug repurposing of 4-aminopyridine.” His research focuses on nerve damage sustained due to traumatic injury and the potential to diagnose and effectively treat recoverable severe limb injuries on or near the battlefield using the FDA-approved drug, 4-aminopyridine. This is year one of a two-year study.
  • Dr. Shin Mineishi, professor of medicine, received a $634,749 grant from Millennium Pharmaceuticals to complete a clinical trial for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia patients who are not in remission at the time they receive a stem cell transplant. He is developing a method to perform this transplant and keep patients in remission afterward with long-term treatment using innovative new agents. His study is titled “A Phase II Study of Drug A and Drug B as Maintenance Therapy after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation for Non-Remission Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.” This is year one of a three-year study.
  • Lichong Xu, an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, received a $219,991 grant to develop new materials for use in constructing artificial organs and prostheses. The goal is to lessen the likelihood of patients getting biomaterial-induced thrombosis and microbial infections from blood-contacting medical devices, such as stents and catheters. His study is titled, “Textured Polyphosphazene Biomaterial with Improved Hemocompatibility.” This is Year One of a two-year study.
  • Dr. Xuemei Huang, professor of neurology, received a $112,459 grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research for her study, “The kynurenine pathway as a mediator of vulnerability to inflammation-induced neurodegeneration.” Huang and her research team are developing imaging biomarkers for Parkinson's disease and parkinsonian syndromes. This is year one of a two-year study.

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