Buffalo Translational Consortium News

Pilot Studies in Translational Research Awarded to Six Groups

Posted on 07/22/14 at 10:24 am

Pilot Studies in translational research were awarded to 6 groups of faculty researchers from Buffalo Translational Consortium institutions. The awards, totaling ~$200,000, were made possible by broad-based contributions from the following offices:

•    Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences
•    Office of the Vice President for Research
•    Roswell Park Cancer Institute
•    Dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
•    Dean, School of Dental Medicine
•    Dean, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
•    Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
•    Dean, School of Public Health and Health Professions
•    Dean, School of Nursing

A total of 51 applications were received and underwent a rigorous 2-tiered review process.  The first round of scientific review was coordinated by Dr. Kenneth Tramposch, Associate Vice President for Research, who convened 6 expert review panels. The Pilot Studies Oversight Committee, co chaired by Drs. Steven Fliesler and Leonard Epstein conducted a second level of review and made final decisions on funding (committee members with proposals under consideration did not participate). An important review criterion was that the pilot awards will lead to larger extramural awards to grow our portfolio of translational research.

The following 6 proposals were awarded:

Biomarkers for detection of treatment response and disease recurrence in pancreatic cancer
•    Robert  Straubinger PhD, Jun Qu PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
•    Wen Wee Ma MBBS, Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
•    Elizabeth Repasky PhD, Department of Immunology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Senescence as a stimulus for inflammation
•    Thomas Cimato MD PhD, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
•    Andrei Gudkov PhD Dsci, Department of Cell Stress Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
•    Paul Wallace PhD, Department of Flow and Image Cytometry, Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Vibration powered leadless cardiac pacemaker
•    Amin Karami PhD, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,  UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
•    Vijay Iyer MD, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Human fibrotic microtissue chips for screening of anti-fibrotic therapies
•    Ruogang Zhao PhD, Stelios Andreadis PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Use of cardiac MRI and tissue characterization to identify the morphology of myocardial scar and high-risk peri-infarct region

•    Umesh Sharma MD PhD, John Canty MD, Gen Suzuki MD PhD, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
•    Leslie Ying PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Expression-based biomarkers in cystic fibrosis
•    James Jarvis MD, Drucy Borowitz MD, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
•    Yijun Sun PhD, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Pilot Studies award winners will present their work at the Clinical and Translational Research Colloquium to be held in 2015 at the Clinical and Translational Research Center.

Click this link for past colloquia


Publications by Research Groups in the CTRC

Posted on 05/30/14 at 08:25 am

In an effort to enhance communication and collaboration opportunities among researchers in the CTRC and to recognize the outstanding research productivity of research groups, we will periodically post publications by groups based in the CTRC as news items.

The attached list includes 84 publications and 6 textbook chapters by CTRC researchers and trainees from January 1, 2013 through May 1, 2014. The papers include:

  • Original articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • Review articles
  • Editorials

The work encompasses a wide range of disciplines with a common translational theme.

Congratulations to all!

Click this link for the publications by each of the research groups.

Dr. Cevher Ozcan Wins NIH K08 Award for Research on Atrial Fibrillation

Posted on 05/08/14 at 04:21 am
Cevher Ozcan, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine

Cevher Ozcan MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, has been awarded a K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The work focuses on elucidating molecular mechanisms of atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. The central hypothesis of the proposal is that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in atrial fibrillation by causing electrical instability. Dr. Ozcan will use two novel model systems to study the role of mitochondria in the mechanisms of atrial fibrillation. She will use these observations to identify novel mitochondrial targets for treatment and prevention.

Atrial fibrillation affects 1% of the US population and is a major public health problem. Remarkably little is known about cellular and molecular mechanisms of atrial fibrillation. Dr. Ozcan’s work has enormous translational potential to better treat and prevent this common disorder.

Dr. Ozcan earned her MD at University of Cukurova followed by a residency in internal medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin. She completed a Research Fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic, a Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease at Yale University and a Fellowship in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at Massachusetts General Hospital before joining the UB faculty in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in 2011. 

NIH Awards Grant to Dr. Timothy Murphy’s Group to Develop a New Class of Antimicrobial Agents to Prevent Otitis Media

Posted on 02/14/14 at 05:57 am
Dr. Murphy’s group is developing antisense molecules as a new class of selective antimicrobial agents to prevent otitis media.


The National Institute for Deafness and Communications Disorders (NIDCD) has awarded a 2 year grant of $448,000 entitled “Selective eradication of nasopharyngeal colonization to prevent otitis media” to SUNY Distinguished Professor Timothy Murphy. The work proposes an entirely new approach to preventing recurrent otitis media.

Up to 10% of children in the US are otitis prone and experience recurrent episodes of otitis media. Otitis media is the most common reason for children to:
* Require office visits (other than well child visits)
* Receive antibiotics
* Undergo general anesthesia (for insertion of drainage tubes)

Children who suffer recurrent or chronic otitis media experience hearing impairment at a time that is critical for speech and language development. So these children may have delays in speech and language development and learning problems in school. Preventing otitis media would be the best way to prevent these sequelae.

Prophylactic antibiotic therapy to prevent recurrent otitis media has been studied extensively and invariably fails because antibiotics eradicate the normal flora and thus cause intolerable side effects that force discontinuation.

The novel approach that Dr. Murphy’s laboratory will use is selective eradication of the pathogens that cause otitis media while leaving the normal flora undisturbed. To accomplish this, antisense molecules that target specific genes required for bacterial growth are being developed and assessed.

Antisense molecules, which are promising therapy for some genetic disorders, would represent an entirely new class of antimicrobial agents. The long term vision is that otitis prone children could use nose drops or nose spray that would eradicate pathogens and prevent otitis media.

Page 4 of 15