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Grant and Contract Awards

FY2020, 2nd Quarter Summary
(October 1 – December 31, 2019)

Scroll down to read, or use these links to jump directly to a section/principal investigator (PI):


(Renewal, continued, and supplemental funding for projects awarded previously)



(New grants, funding transferred from a PI’s previous institution, and NIH competitive renewal funding)

Salah-Uddin Ahmed (PI); Mahamudul Haque – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Rheumatology Research Foundation
“Regulation of Interleukin Beta induced TNF alpha Stimulated Gene-6 (TSG6) expression in Human Osteoarthritis Synovial Fibroblasts by Guanylate Binding Protein 5 (GBP5)”
This grant funds an eight-week research preceptorship for Mahamudul Haque, a PhD student in the lab of Salah Ahmed. Ahmed will mentor Haque as he conducts a research project to evaluate the role of GBP5 (guanylate binding protein 5) in the regulation of gene expression that drives inflammation and tissue destruction in human osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts (OASFs). OASFs are cells that are found in the connective tissue that lines the inner surface of joints in patients with osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis that occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the end of your bones wears down over time. The work will contribute to Haque’s dissertation on the role of GBP5 in the development of osteoarthritis.

Ofer Amram (PI); Solmaz Amiri – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Dept. of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology
Office of Research, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program
“Assessing the Impact of Adherence to Medication Assisted Treatment with Methadone on Emergency Department Visits”
Opioid-related emergency department visits have nearly doubled in the span of a decade, from 89.1 per 100,000 people in 2005 to 177.7 per 100,000 in 2014. This grant provides internal funding for a project to explore the association between adherence to medication-assisted treatment with methadone and the number of emergency department visits among clients who receive treatment at the only state-funded opioid treatment program located in the Spokane Regional Health District (SRDH). The research will help improve researchers’ understanding of the frequency of emergency department visits and their relationship with treatment effectiveness. It will help SRDH identify clients who need a different type of treatment and will further their goal of transitioning clients to more individualized treatment plans.

Celestina Barbosa-Leiker (PI); Ekaterina Burduli; Crystal Smith – College of Nursing/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Office of Research, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program
“Perceptions of risks and benefits of marijuana use during pregnancy in urban and reservation-based American Indian women”
This is internal funding that allows the researchers to examine the experiences of both urban- and reservation-based American Indian women who use marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The goal is to describe women’s perceptions of risks and benefits of marijuana use, perceptions of stigma, changes in marijuana use during pregnancy, and changes in access due to changes in state law. The results of this study will help better educate pregnant women on the possible risks of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding and will inform maternal and infant health policy and standards of care in this understudied and underserved population.

Naomi Bender (PI); Ken Roberts – WSU Spokane, Native American Health Sciences/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Empire Health Foundation
“INHealth Program”
This grant funds the establishment of an INHealth Program at Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane. The program will include services and resources aimed at increasing interest in health sciences careers among Native Americans and preparing them for the application process and professional school experience. The INHealth Program will be a collaboration between the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy and the WSU Health Sciences Spokane Chancellor’s Office.

Cara Carty (PI); Celestina Barbosa-Leiker – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health/College of Nursing
Office of Research, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program
“Cannabis use among American Indian women”
This is internal funding for a study to identify perceptions of risks of cannabis use during pregnancy in American Indian women of reproductive age and to describe factors associated with its use. The study findings will be used to create programs and interventions to educate women—particularly those from underserved populations such as American Indians—on the possible risks of prenatal and postpartum cannabis use.

Cara Carty (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health/College of Nursing
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
“Clonal Hematopoiesis in the Women’s Health Initiative”
This grant funds a study related to clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), a common aging-related condition in which hematopoietic stem cells (which make blood cells) start making blood cells that all have the same genetic mutation, forming a distinct subpopulation of blood cells. The goal is to describe associations between CHIP and (1) aging-related risk factors and biomarkers and (2) cardiovascular, neurocognitive and mortality outcomes.

Chris Davis (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
Neurodetective International
“Rat EEG in male cage exchange model (no gavage or drug condition)”
This project replicates a study of stress-induced insomnia in rats that used the male cage exchange method, which involves placing rats in a soiled cage that was inhabited for one week by a different rat. The previous study concluded that mice experienced stress not just from the soiled cage, but also procedural stress from the combined use of gavage (force-feeding) and a head cap that measures EEG data. Therefore, the researchers will repeat the experiment with a slightly altered study design so they can determine whether the cage exchange model is flawed. The goal of the original study was to lay the groundwork for the development of new drugs to treat insomnia in humans.

Daryll DeWald (PI) – WSU Health Sciences Spokane
City of Spokane
“Sprague Phase 2 Facade Improvement Program/Gleason Institute”
This award funds improvements to the façade of a building located at 325 E Sprague Avenue that is being renovated to house the Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience. Funds for the improvements come from the City of Spokane’s Sprague Phase 2 Façade Improvement Program.

Marcos Frank (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
Washington Research Foundation
“2-photon laser upgrade Coherent Chameleon Discovery: TPC”
This grant provides funding for an upgrade of an existing 2-photon brain imaging system used in neuroscience research. The 2-photon laser upgrade will allow the researchers to explore a theory on the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research suggests that increased screen time in early life may lead to the development of ADHD. The brain processes that underlie this are unknown but may be due to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory brain cells. The equipment upgrade funded by this grant will allow the researchers to simultaneously study the behavior of both cells in the intact, living brain. A better understanding of how brain circuits are shaped during development could lead to new therapies that may reduce the incidence of ADHD.

Kimberly Honn (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
“Predicting heat strain in metal and nonmetal miners”
This contract provides funding for expert consulting services on a study on heat strain in metal and nonmetal miners. The goal of the study is to evaluate the impact of heat exposure on cognitive functioning and whether physiologic parameters and personal risk factors can be used to predict declines in cognitive functioning. As part of the study, the researchers will perform cognitive tests on subjects when their core body temperatures reach certain thresholds. Honn will provide expert advice on cognitive test administration and analysis and interpretation of results, especially of an alertness test known as the psychomotor vigilance test. In addition, she will provide input on a research proposal being developed that would evaluate the feasibility of predicting cognitive effects of heat strain.

Bhagwat Prasad (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
“PRINCE: Proteomics-based Research Initiative for Non-CYP Enzymes (Gilead)”
This concerns grant funding being transferred from the PI’s previous institution. This grant provides funding for the PRINCE (Proteomics-based Research Initiative for Non-CYP Enzymes) program, a research collaboration between WSU and the pharmaceutical industry to elucidate the role of non-cytochrome P450 (non-CYP) enzymes in the disposition, efficacy, and toxicity of drugs. The overarching objective is to develop physiological models to predict drug disposition, which could help reduce the number of animal and clinical studies needed before new drugs can be approved. Gilead is one of three pharmaceutical companies participating in the PRINCE program.

Bhagwat Prasad (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director
“Prenatal and Early Childhood Pathways to Health (PATHWAYS)”
Asthma, allergies, and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD are among the most common chronic health problems affecting American children. Evidence has increasingly shown that pregnant women’s exposure to outdoor air pollution, everyday chemicals such as those used in plastics, and stress can affect fetal development and later child health problems. The PATHWAYS study will integrate three major cohort studies of pregnant women and their children to learn how pregnancy exposures affect child neurodevelopment and airway health. As part of this project, Dr. Prasad’s laboratory will provide bioanalytical support to the principal investigators at the University of Washington.

Bhagwat Prasad (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Bristol-Myers Squibb
“Quantitation of mitochondrial amidoxime reducing complex (mARC) in human liver tissue bank”
This contract provides funding for Dr. Prasad to quantify protein expression levels of two genes, mARC1 and mARC2, in kidney and liver tissues from humans and rodents across various age groups, including infants, children, and adolescents. The goal of the study is to better understand developmental changes in these drug metabolizing enzymes.

Marian Wilson (PI); Phil Lazarus; Michael McDonell – College of Nursing/College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Office of Research, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program
“Examination of the Stereospecific Metabolism of Opioid-Cannabinoid Interaction Among Patients with Chronic Pain”
This is internal funding for a pilot research project to investigate the potential effects of smoking cannabis on the metabolism of hydrocodone, a commonly used opioid painkiller. There is some evidence that cannabis is being used as a substitute drug for opioids, potentially resulting in drug-drug interactions. Preliminary lab results indicate that several enzymes important to opioid metabolism are inhibited by THC—the main psychoactive compound in cannabis—and its metabolites. This includes two major enzymes important in the metabolism of hydrocodone and morphine. To quantify any potential drug-drug interactions, the research team will analyze blood samples taken across two days from 30 patients who use hydrocodone daily for chronic pain and who report smoking occasional cannabis at the same time. Half of the blood samples will be taken on day 1 after they have abstained from using cannabis for at least 48 hours; the other half will be taken after they have used cannabis 30 minutes prior to their visit to the clinical lab, on day 2. The plasma levels of hydrocodone and its major metabolites will be examined by ultra-pressure liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and compared in the same subjects before and after cannabis exposure. The researchers will also collect data to determine how symptoms of pain, mood, and sleep are affected by opioid and cannabis co-use in adults with chronic pain. Results from this study should provide important information on whether the smoking of cannabis results in altered levels of hydrocodone and its metabolites and whether it interferes with hydrocodone-related effects or symptoms.


(Renewal, continued, and supplemental funding for projects awarded previously)

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Clemma Muller; Robert Rosenman – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health/School of Economic Sciences
University of Colorado – Denver/National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health
“Collaborative Hub to Reduce the Burden of Suicide among Urban AI and AN – Suicide Prevention for Urban Natives”
These are continuing funds for a contract that supports the development and implementation of a caring communications intervention and randomized trial to reduce suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide-related hospitalizations among Native youth living in urban areas. The project will also seek to increase social connectedness, as well as promote retention in Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment programs.

Michael McDonell (PI); Oladunni Oluwoye – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services/National Institutes of Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
“First Episode Psychosis Evaluation”
This is year five renewal funding for a grant that funds activities related to the evaluation of the Washington State Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery’s New Journeys first episode psychosis program. The New Journeys program is designed to enhance the recognition of early signs and symptoms of psychosis so that effective treatment can be started promptly. WSU leads the quantitative evaluation of the program and is working with the University of Washington to conduct the qualitative evaluation. The program was first launched in Yakima County, but is now offered at nine sites serving each of Washington State’s regions, with plans in place to further increase the number of sites in 2020 to include Spokane County.

Michael McDonell (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
University of California San Francisco/ National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
“Interventions to reduce alcohol use and increase adherence to TB preventive therapy amount HIV/TB co-infected drinkers”
People with HIV worldwide are at a higher risk of being infected with tuberculosis (TB). That risk is three times as high in those with HIV who are heavy drinkers, compared to non-drinkers. Six months of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) has been shown to reduce TB and mortality by 30 to 50 percent above the positive impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART), however there are issues related to liver toxicity and poor adherence to ART and IPT in those who drink. This award funds a continuing study that investigates whether use of economic incentives to reduce alcohol use can decrease toxicity and increase IPT completion. The study will look at 800 individuals in Uganda with HIV and TB infection and heavy alcohol use. The study will compare changes in alcohol use and IPT adherence after six months across four randomized participant groups: participants in the control group will not receive any incentives. One group will receive economic incentives for decreasing alcohol use only; another will receive economic incentives for IPT adherence only; and a final group will receive economic incentives for both decreasing alcohol use and IPT adherence, independently.

Kay Meier (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
“ASPET Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program at Washington State University”
This grant provides renewal funding to continue the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) offered by the WSU College of Pharmacy. The program provides undergraduate students with hands‐on experience in pharmaceutical or biomedical research to promote graduate education and research careers in the field.

James Mohr (PI) – WSU Spokane, Office of Student Affairs
University of Washington
“WSU Spokane/Spokane MESA Center”
This contract provides renewal funding for the Spokane Math Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program. The program builds a pathway to college and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). MESA develops programming and initiatives to improve diversity and retention, with an emphasis on traditionally underrepresented students in STEM fields, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and women.

Hans Van Dongen (PI); John Hinson; Paul Whitney – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Arts & Sciences/Sleep & Performance Research Center
University of California Davis/National Institutes of Health
“Longitudinal Measurement of the Changing Sleep Need in Adolescence”
This is a subcontract of an NIH competing renewal grant awarded to UC Davis for a longitudinal study on the changing sleep need in adolescents. Van Dongen and his colleagues will assist in analyzing and interpreting daytime performance data.

Boyang Wu (PI); Lucia Peixoto; Philip Lazarus – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute
“MAOA and AR Reciprocal Crosstalk in Prostate Cancer”
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. The primary driver of prostate cancer growth is androgen receptor, which regulates male hormones such as testosterone. The main treatment for prostate cancer currently consists of androgen deprivation therapy, which reduces testosterone to very low levels. In more than 90 percent of cases, prostate cancer initially responds to this therapy, but it will eventually relapse and progress into what is known as fatal castrate-resistant prostate cancer, which grows despite low testosterone levels. This study will look at a new molecular target for treating advanced prostate cancer: monoamine oxidase A (MAOA). The researchers have identified a reciprocal relationship between MAOA and androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells. Based on their findings, they will determine the molecular mechanism by which MAOA and androgen receptor interact in prostate cancer cells; describe the role of MAOA in the development and progression of castrate-resistant prostate cancer; and determine the efficacy of MAOA inhibitor drugs for treating castrate-resistant prostate cancer and reversing cancer cell resistance to the latest generation of antiandrogen drugs. The study will provide new insights and may provide a basis for developing new combination therapeutic strategies for advanced prostate cancer.