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Indiana CTSI grants accelerate research

March 9, 2014

Nearly two dozen Indiana University Bloomington scientists have been awarded grants through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute throughout 2013 and the first part of 2014. The awards are given to facilitate and accelerate research discoveries that may improve the health of people in Indiana and beyond.

The Indiana CTSI is a statewide collaboration of Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame focused on the conversion of scientific discoveries in the lab into new patient treatments. It was established in 2008 with a Clinical and Translational Science Award of $25 million from the National Institutes of Health and additional support from the state, member universities, and public and private partners. The institute received a five-year renewal grant of $30 million from the NIH in late 2013.

“Development of Indiana CTSI activities on the IU Bloomington campus is a key research priority for this campus,” says Sarita Soni, vice provost for research at IU Bloomington. “We are committed to investing in new areas of innovation that build on our research strengths such as systems biology, -omics, virology, biostatistics and network sciences. This investment in Indiana CTSI initiatives at IU Bloomington aligns with the campus strategic plan, and over the next five years we will engage more faculty in these efforts.

Anantha Shekhar, director of the Indiana CTSI and the Raymond E. Houk Professor of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine, says the increased participation of IU Bloomington faculty in Indiana CTSI is encouraging.

“IU Bloomington faculty offer considerable expertise and strength in the basic sciences that contribute greatly to the Indiana CTSI, which is a very important investment in the state of Indiana,” he says.

Indiana CTSI offers a variety of grants to support project development, funding for predoctoral students and the use of core research facilities. Indiana CTSI Project Development Teams, made up of multidisciplinary researchers, also assist investigators in developing well-designed translational projects. IU Bloomington hosts several of these networking teams.

“The range of faculty and disciplines receiving Indiana CTSI-related awards is exciting,” says Pat Foster, associate vice provost for the sciences in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and also a professor of biology at IU Bloomington. “Indiana CTSI funding is supporting faculty from chemistry and criminal justice to medical sciences to psychology and sociology.”

For example, predoctoral student Jessica Tang is using her funding to study ovarian cancer, while IU Bloomington biologist Yves Brun is collaborating with University of Notre Dame colleague Arezzo Ardekani on research that will lead to understanding and preventing contamination of medical devices, such as stents and catheters, by bacteria. Grants to the IU Bloomington researchers range from $5,000 to $35,000.

For more information on Indiana CTSI funding on the Bloomington campus, contact IU Bloomington’s Indiana CTSI navigator, Yvonne Lai, at

2013 and 2014 Indiana CTSI grant recipients, research projects at IU Bloomington

Collaboration in Translational Research Pilot Grant

  • Yves Brun, Department of Biology, and Arezzo Ardekani, Notre Dame, transition from reversible to irreversible stages of bacterial adhesion to surfaces.
  • Kenneth Nephew, Medical Sciences Program, and Jean-Christophe Rochet, Purdue, role of DNA methylation in Lewy body diseases.

Core Pilot funding

  • Brian Calvi, Department of Biology, genome instability and metabolic reprogramming in polyploid cells.
  • Andrew Zelhof, Department of Biology, proteomic approach for identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying prominin-induced retinal degeneration.
  • Pranav Danthi, Department of Biology, identification of host targets for a virulence factor for a neurotropic virus.
  • Ke Hu, Department of Biology, dissecting the function of novel microtubule-associated proteins in the lytic cycle of a human parasite, toxoplasma gondii.
  • Nick Sokol, Department of Biology, proteomic identification of let-7-complex microRNA processing factors.
  • William Hetrick, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, cerebellar dysfunction in autism.
  • Andrea Hohmann, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Purdue Biophysical Analysis Lab, and Joint Support for the 2013 GRC-GRS on Cannabinoid Function in the CNS.
  • Sharlene Newman, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, neural and behavioral correlates of anomia treatment in acquired neurogenic disorders.
  • Claire Walczak, Medical Sciences Program, analysis of the microtubule depolymerizing kinesin as a prognostic marker for taxane-resistant breast cancers.

Predoctoral funding

  •  April Bell, School of Public Health-Bloomington, reproductive decision-making.
  • Jessica Tang, Department of Biology, the aberrant epigenetic landscape of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Project Development Teams pilot funding

  • Lingling Chen, Department of Biochemistry, molecular mechanism of human mitochondrial chaperonin mtHsp60 — mapping the sequence elements critical for structure, function and pathology of mtHsp60.
  • Christina Dann, Department of Chemistry, propagation of human spermatogonial stem cells in vitro for cell therapy.
  • Nathalie Fontaine, Department of Criminal Justice, neural systems of emotion processing and their association with conduct and callous-unemotional behaviors in young children.
  • Robert Nosofsky, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, using a formal cognitive model to assess visual working memory deficits in patients with schizophrenia.
  • Brian D’Onofrio, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, understanding the complex causes of suicidal behavior: a population-based study using quasi-experimental approaches.
  • Richard Shiffrin, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, development of new and sophisticated empirical paradigms and theoretical analyses that will enable determination of the mechanisms of attention, including the causes of lapses and particularly the way that multiple competing demands for attention are adjudicated.
  • Fabio Rojas, Department of Sociology, networks and knowledge in the nursing profession: the case of health care associated infection control.
  • David Wild, School of Informatics and Computing, semantically mapping the hidden molecular connections of type 2 diabetes.

Research Invention and Scientific Commercialization Grant

  •  Sara Skrabalak, Department of Chemistry, phase I and phase II: commercial-scale synthesis of high-surface area macroporous silica for bioanalytical chromatography.