College of Medicine researchers recognized for grants received in July
Penn State College of Medicine investigators received 48 grant awards in July 2018 to pursue research studies that will advance the understanding of medical and scientific knowledge. Five notable grant awards include:
Dr. Andrea Hobkirk, assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health Sciences, received a five-year grant totaling $815,640 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study how low-nicotine cigarettes change brain function for smokers. Her study is titled “Identifying circuit-level neuromarkers of smoking dependence that change in response to intervention.”
Dr. Jonathan Foulds, professor of Public Health Sciences, received a $766,492 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the likely health effects of cigarette smokers switching to a standardized research e-cigarette. The study also assesses the role of nicotine delivery on switching, acceptability and markers of health outcomes. His study is titled “Does Switching to Nicotine-containing Electronic Cigarettes Reduce Health Risk Markers.”
Dr. Jin-Ming Yang, professor in the Department of Pharmacology, received a $577,744 grant from the National Cancer Institute for his study, “Nucleus Accumbens-Associated Protein-1 in Melanoma Immunotherapy,” which examines the role and importance of NAC1, a cancer recurrence-associated gene product and a transcription co-regulator, in regulating antitumor immunity in melanoma. Yang and his research team seek to design and develop a novel and effective strategy to reinforce immunotherapy for patients with melanoma.
Dr. Matthew Moyer, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, will study an alcohol-free, endoscopic ultrasound-guided chemoablation (the removal of cells using a chemical substance) protocol to eliminate pancreatic tumors. He received $463,697 from the National Cancer Institute for a five-year study, “CHARM II: Chemotherapy for Ablation and Resolution of Mucinous Pancreatic Cysts: a prospective, randomized, double- blind, multi-center clinical trial.”
Dr. Dajiang Liu, associate professor of Public Health Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, received a $306,957 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for “Tools for integrative genomics and disease association study for the X chromosome. The study seeks to better understand the biology of the human X chromosome and investigate how genes on the X chromosome affect diseases, an area that has been traditionally poorly studied in human genetics. The research team includes Dr. Laura Carrel. The developed approaches will be applied to study lupus, in collaboration with Dr. Nancy Olsen, Dr. Ziaur Rahman and Dr. Song Guo Zheng.
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