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Grant and Contract Awards

FY2020, 3rd Quarter Summary
(January 1 – March 31, 2020)

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



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

Tyler Bland (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
US Department of Defense/Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program
“Targeting acetylcholine signaling in chemotherapy-resistant prostate cancer”
This study is aimed at improving scientists’ understanding of neuromimicry in drug-resistant, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, a terminal and extremely aggressive form of the disease that leads to the death of over 30,000 men every year in the U.S. Signaling molecules and neurotransmitters that are traditionally associated with nervous system function have been recently been implicated in drug-resistant prostate cancer in a phenomenon known as neuromimicry. The PI will attempt to unravel the mechanism by which prostate cancer cells become resistant to the chemotherapy agent doxetaxel, including expression of genes involved in neurotransmitter release and genes involved in ACh receptor activity. Previous studies by the PI have suggested that expression of these genes is increased in docetaxel-resistant prostate cancer cells as compared to docetaxel-sensitive prostate cancer cells. A better understanding of neuromimicry in prostate cancer may someday lead to improvements in the identification and treatment of chemoresistant prostate cancer.

Naomi Chaytor (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Jaeb Center for Health Research Foundation/National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
“A Randomized Cross-over Trial Evaluating Automated Insulin Delivery Technologies on Hypoglycemia and Quality of Life in Older Adults with Type 1 Diabetes”
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs frequently in older adults with Type 1 Diabetes and is associated with altered mental status, an increased risk for falls leading to fractures, car accidents, and cardiac arrhythmias resulting in sudden death. The occurrence of hypoglycemia and fear of hypoglycemia have adverse effects on the quality of life of both individuals with Type 1 Diabetes and their families. Automated insulin delivery systems using continuous glucose monitors and smart algorithms to automatically adjust insulin delivered via a pump to the needs of the patient. Though evidence suggests these systems are effective in children and adults with Type 1 Diabetes, little data exists on the benefits and risks of automated insulin delivery technology in older adults with Type 1 diabetes. The goal of this study is to assess the effectiveness of automated insulin delivery on reducing hypoglycemia and improving quality of life in older adults with Type 1 diabetes.

Shobhan Gaddameedhi (PI); Jonathan Wisor – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
“Circadian clock disruption as a risk factor for environmental carcinogenesis”
The goal of this study is to determine how disruption of the circadian clock—the body’s built-in mechanism that drives 24-rhythms in gene expression and biological processes in cells—affects early-stage mechanisms of skin cancer formation induced by UVB radiation. The study’s findings may help scientists better understand why those who perform long-term rotating shift work—which disrupts the circadian clock by altering the timing of wake/sleep—are at increased risk of getting skin cancer. The researchers’ hypothesis is that circadian disruption impacts DNA repair capacity, inflammatory responses, and other genotoxic stress-related cellular pathways that contribute to making shift workers more prone to developing cancer. This work will fill a gap in knowledge about how circadian disruption associated with rotating shift work makes skin more sensitive to UVB radiation damage, which subsequently leads to the development of cancer.

David H. Garcia (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dept. of Migrant Education
“WSU Spokane Dare to Dream Health Sciences Academy”
As part of this project. WSU Health Sciences Spokane will select 30 high-achieving migrant students from school districts in central and eastern Washington to attend the Dare to Dream Health Sciences Academy on the WSU Spokane campus. The WSU Dare to Dream Health Sciences Academy will provide these students with a seven-day/six-night on-campus experience that will help them build their skills and abilities in the areas of health sciences and provide them with experiences, resources, and information that will help prepare them for college.

Georgina Lynch (PI); Lars Neuenschwander – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences
WSU Office of Commercialization
“Commercialization Gap Fund, 2020 – Lynch”
About one in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. Though early intervention can help ease long-term effects, the average age of diagnosis is still around four years of age. This project involves the development of an objective screening tool to help health care providers detect ASD earlier based on the pupillary light reflex, which will help support ASD screening during routine health care visits. This grant provides funding for the development of software and hardware integration using pupillary light reflex biometrics to differentiate ASD risk from typical development.

Georgina Lynch (PI); Sterling McPherson – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences
Washington Research Foundation
“PLR Biometrics & Hand-held Technology for Non-Invasive ASD Screening”
This grant provides funding for a study that will examine the pupillary light reflex in young children to help health care providers identify autism spectrum disorder (ASD) early during routine healthcare visits. The researchers will develop handheld technology that will use measurements of the pupillary light reflex as a noninvasive way to screen for ASD. The work is based on an earlier finding from a study led by Lynch that found that the pupils of children with ASD take longer to constrict when exposed to light than in neurotypical children. The new tool will help pediatric medical teams effectively screen for ASD and get children with ASD into early intervention treatment, which has the potential to improve outcomes.

Sterling McPherson (PI); Michael McDonell – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Managed Health Connections, LLC/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
“Automated Contingency Management System for Alcohol Abuse”
Though alcohol abuse is a major cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., only 15 percent of those who have alcohol use disorder (AUD) receive treatment. Awarded under the Small Business Technology Transfer program, this grant supports the development of a computer software platform for contingency management in AUD. Contingency management is a substance abuse treatment that uses prizes to reward abstinence. The goal is for the new technology to provide a self-service platform that can measure abstinence, help the user set individual goals, and use electromagnetic articulation (EMA) technology to launch behavior modification strategies and monitor progress, with little to no required involvement from a clinician.

Sterling McPherson (PI); Michael McDonell; John Roll – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Pillsy/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
“Connected Pharmacy Platform to Improve Adherence to Buprenorphine- Naloxone Prescription Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder”
Opioid agonist therapy, such as buprenorphine/naloxone, can reduce opioid overdose deaths by at least 70 percent, decrease opioid misuse, and improve quality of life in opioid use disorder. Poor medication adherence is one of the main barriers to the long-term efficacy of opioid agonist therapy, with recent studies showing that only a quarter of patients stuck with their treatment after one year. This study will test the effectiveness of a low-cost, smart technology platform known as Pillsy at increasing adherence to buprenorphine/naloxone treatment. Pillsy acts like a digital medication coach, providing education and reminders using a mobile app, text messages, and automated phone calls. The platform is built around a Bluetooth-based smart pill bottle cap that automatically tracks doses, timing and sends intelligent reminders to create a unique feedback loop that allows the researchers to optimize incentive/reminder messages to meet user needs to increase adherence. A dashboard enables providers to easily monitor medication use and patient engagement.

Oladunni Oluwoye (PI); John Roll; Michael McDonell – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
University of California San Francisco/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
“Family-Based Contingency Management for Substance Use Among Youth Experiencing FEP”
Youth who are experiencing first-episode psychosis (FEP) have been successfully treated with coordinated specialty care programs that have been shown to improved quality of life, psychiatric symptoms, and vocational goals. About half of youth who experience FEP also meet criteria for a lifetime alcohol or substance use disorder. Coordinated specialty care programs for FEP do not reduce substance use among youth, but contingency management (reward-based) interventions do. As part of this project, the research team will develop and implement a family-based contingency management intervention to improve substance use treatment in coordinated specialty care programs for FEP and increase abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. Family-based contingency management involves family monitoring of substance use and has been particularly effective among youth, who are less likely to start treatment compared to adults. Based on interviews and focus groups with different stakeholders, the research team will adapt the existing family-based contingency management intervention for use in coordinated specialty care programs for youth with FEP, specifically.

Ken Roberts (PI); Kristin Courtney – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Education
Career Connect Washington
“Career Connect Washington Intermediary Funding”
This grant provides funding for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to develop a junior high school mentorship program to expand health care career awareness in Stevens County. The mentoring model will expose students to the full spectrum of health care careers while also helping them develop personal attributes such as leadership, community and interpersonal skills, resilience, teamwork and collaboration, and school performance. The model will also expand career connected learning opportunities through relationship building and rapport with Stevens County students and community member partnerships. The goal is to support students’ knowledge growth and experiences and prepare them for future opportunities.

Wendy Williams-Gilbert (PI) – College of Nursing
University of Washington/Premera Blue Cross
“Premera Medication First for Opioid Use Disorder Program Grant”
This subaward provides funding for Dr. Wendy Williams-Gilbert to provide training, technical assistance and clinical consultation to providers contracted with the University of Washington for the “Medication-First Delivery for High-Acuity Opioid Use Disorder Population” project. The project entails a multi-site study of the implementation of low-barrier access to buprenorphine for people with opioid use disorder. Drug treatment is combined with care navigation to be delivered in partnership with community-based service providers, including syringe exchanges, mobile medical clinics and homeless services providers.

Marian Wilson (PI) – College of Nursing
Institute for Translational Health Sciences/National Institutes of Health
“COMFORT: Community-engaged Options to Maximize and Facilitate Opioid Reduction through Treatment”
This project will test a scripted shared decision-making process named COMFORT (Community-engaged Options to Maximize and Facilitate Opioid Reduction through Treatment) to introduce adults who were previously prescribed opioids to non-pharmacological pain management options. The ultimate goal is to reduce opioid misuse and addiction rates. The study will include 30 participants from an outpatient clinic serving low-income adults. Each participant will be offered two community-based therapy options to assist pain symptom management, one active (physical or yoga therapy) and one passive (massage or chiropractic therapy). They will receive weekly appointments for six weeks for their preferred option. Primary outcome measurements include the acceptability of non-opioid options, as measured by patient attendance and satisfaction surveys; achievement of patient-selected goals for opioid use, as measured by clinical records and self-report; and the feasibility of the scripted process health care providers will use to invite patients to try non-opioid pain management approaches.


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

Greg Belenky (PI); Amanda Lamp – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep and Performance Research Center
United Airlines
“Fatigue Risk Management System Route Studies”
This is renewal funding for multiple field studies of sleep and performance in pilots flying domestic, long-range, and ultra-long‐range routes in commercial aviation. This contract also involved advisory roles on safety- and science-related topics. This work supports the airline’s use of fatigue risk management, a nonprescriptive approach to managing flight and duty times.

Chris Blodgett (PI) – WSU Extension, Child and Family Research Unit
Westside Infant-Family Network/LA County Department of Mental Health
“Trauma Resilient Communities: Community Capacity Building”
Trauma from early life adversity is a public health challenge with broad impact across the general population and particular impact on children and adults with social, health, and emotional challenges. This award provides the WSU Child and Family Research Unit with supplemental funding for a training contract. The contract has WSU providing training to support the adoption or expansion of trauma-informed principles in organizational practices and services at multiple health, education, and social service agencies in westside Los Angeles.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Ka’imi Sinclair; Clemma Muller; Robert Rosenman; Amanda Boyd; Amber Fyfe-Johnson – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/Community Health/Murrow College of Communication/School of Economic Sciences
National Institutes of Health; National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
“Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk through Technology (Native-CHART)”
This is continued funding for a five-year grant to establish—in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver—a new collaborative research center aimed at reducing health risks related to high blood pressure in U.S. Native populations. The center draws in expertise and solicits input from community organizations, tribes, and researchers across the country to pursue intervention studies that will use technologies. These technologies include electronic medical records, text messaging, wearable physical activity monitors, and home blood pressure monitors.

Dedra Buchwald (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research
“A Primary Prevention Trial to Strengthen Child Attachment in a Native Community”
These are renewal subaward funds for a project to test the Promoting First Relationships (PFR) program in American Indian (AI) children at a reservation in northeastern Montana. The research team will test the effectiveness of the program in improving the caregiver’s sensitivity to the child. They will also examine child attachment security to the caregiver and the child’s social and emotional functioning. The goal is to create a culturally adapted intervention to promote sensitive caregiving and child attachment security in American Indian populations, minimizing the impact of stressors on children living on the reservation, as well as fostering resilience and improving their risk outlook.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Lonnie Nelson; Michael McDonell; Sterling McPherson; Clemma Muller; Robert Rosenman – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/Community Health; School of Economic Sciences
National Institutes of Health; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
“Native Center for Alcohol Research and Education”
This award continues a five-year grant that funds the establishment of the Native Center for Alcohol Research and Education at WSU, in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Washington. The center will offer research programs to identify and promote effective preventive interventions tailored to Native infants, youth, and adults in urban, rural, and frontier communities. The goal is to reduce the profound alcohol-related health disparities experienced by this underserved population and improve the quality of life of Native people with alcohol use disorders, their families, and their communities.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Clemma Muller; Astrid Suchy-Dicey; Meghan Jernigan; Patrik Johansson – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/ Community Health
University of Colorado – Denver/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
“American Indian and Alaska Native Health Disparities Center of Excellence”
This is renewal funding for a subaward of a project to establish the Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Disparities, a partnership between the University of Colorado Denver, WSU, and the Southcentral Foundation. It provides funding for WSU investigators to help manage the center’s overall efforts, engage in community engagement with American Indian and Alaskan Native partners in the region, and disseminate research findings. In addition, it funds WSU’s role in two research projects: one using data from the Strong Heart Study and Cerebrovascular Disease and its Consequences in American Indians study to evaluate associations between cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease risk factors and biomarkers in American Indians; and the other, to be conducted in partnership with the University of Arizona, to create culturally tailored materials on Alzheimer’s disease and precision medicine for American Indians and Alaska Natives enrolled in the All of Us Research Program. The All of Us Research Program is an NIH-funded program to improve treatment and prevention strategies based on people’s individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetics.

Amber Fyfe-Johnson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
George B. Storer Foundation
“Health Outcomes in Preschool: INnovations for Obesity Prevention (HOP-IN)”
This award provides ancillary funding for research assistant salary support to complement an NIH-funded K01 project to evaluate the impact of an outdoor preschool model on health outcomes and academic achievement in early childhood. The ‘Health Outcomes in Preschool: INnovations for Obesity Prevention’ (HOP-IN) study partners with Tiny Trees, a preschool in Seattle, Washington, with an entirely outdoor, play-based curriculum. The study will collect data on the physical activity, sleep, body mass index, gut microbiome, and academic performance of 200 children ages 3 to 5 for a period of five years. This includes 100 children attending Tiny Trees and a control group of 100 waitlisted children who are currently attending a traditional indoor preschool. The researchers will compare various outcomes between the two groups and will also perform a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the longer-term sustainability of the Tiny Trees outdoor preschool model.

Janessa Graves (PI) – College of Nursing
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
“Implementation Fidelity and Benefits of the Critical Care Pediatric Guideline Adherence and Outcomes Program in Traumatic Brain Injury”
This is continued funding for a subaward for a collaborative study between researchers in the U.S. and Argentina. The researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial to determine whether an intervention known as the Pediatric Guideline Adherence and Outcomes (PEGASUS) program can increase adherence to guidelines for traumatic brain injury (TBI) care in children with severe TBI across six study sites in Argentina. As part of this study, Janessa Graves will design, prepare, and carry out a cost analysis of the PEGASUS intervention.

Devon Hansen (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
Institute for Translational Health Sciences/National Institutes of Health
“Naturalistic Monitoring and Treatment for Insomnia”
This is supplemental funding for a study that will test the effectiveness of a novel sleep tracking system in individuals with chronic insomnia (those whose sleep is disrupted at least three nights a week for more than three months). The technology consists of a non-contact sensor that sits next to a sleeper’s bed and measures timing quantity, and quality of sleep. It pairs with a smartphone app that shows users details on their sleep and uses built-in coaching functionality to provide individualized suggestions for improving sleep. The study will compare the effectiveness of the technology’s built-in coaching functionality at treating insomnia, comparing it to participation in an online program for cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, the current standard of treatment for chronic insomnia.

Kimberly Honn (PI); Hans Van Dongen – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
Transport Canada
“Fatigue Sciences Advisor”
This is renewal funding for a contract to provide the Rail Safety Division of Transport Canada with expert advice and support related to proposed amendments to the Work/Rest Rules for Railway Operating Employees. The researchers will evaluate whether the proposed rules respect the principles of fatigue science; are scientifically defensible; and will reduce the likelihood of operating employee fatigue in the rail industry.

Lois James (PI); Patricia Butterfield; Steve James; Kevin Stevens; Marian Wilson – College of Nursing/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
US Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
“The Impact of Shift-accumulated Fatigue on Patient Care and Risk of Post-shift Driving Collisions among 12-hour Day and Night Shift Nurses”
This award provides funding to continue a study to determine the impact of fatigue in nurses resulting from 12-hour shifts, both on patient care and on the post-shift drive home. The study will include 50 nurses who work 12-hour day shifts and 50 nurses who work 12-hour night shifts. Nurse participants will be outfitted with wrist activity monitors and other tracking technology to measure levels of fatigue and their impact. They will complete a battery of performance tests on two separate occasions: immediately following their third consecutive 12-hour shift and again on their third consecutive day off work. The test battery includes a computer-based reaction time task that objectively measures fatigue; critical skills testing in the nursing simulation lab; and a 20-minute drive using a driving simulator. Study outcomes may be used to provide recommendations on safe shift-scheduling for day- and night shift nurses.

Sterling McPherson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
US Department of Veterans Affairs/Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center
“Chronic pain management and patient-centered outcomes following discontinuation of long-term opioid therapy”
This subaward allows Sterling McPherson to contribute statistical expertise and data analysis to a study being conducted at the Portland VA Medical Center. The study will follow a cohort of 1,144 VA patients who are being prescribed long-term opioid therapy for a period of two years. The goal of the study is to learn about patients’ experiences with the opioid discontinuation process; alternate pain management strategies patients use after discontinuation—either through VA or non-VA resources; and patient-centered outcomes such as quality of life, pain, substance use, and mental health symptom severity following discontinuation. Patients will be surveyed periodically to assess quality of life, pain, substance use, and mental health symptoms; those who discontinue opioid therapy will complete an additional assessment and may be invited to participate in a qualitative interview. The study will help inform best practices for discontinuing opioid therapy, when clinically indicated, while simultaneously mitigating negative consequences of discontinuation and engaging and empowering patients to manage chronic pain with evidence-based non-opioid treatment options.

James Mohr (PI) – WSU Spokane, Office of Student Affairs
University of Washington
“WSU Spokane/Spokane MESA Center”
This contract provides supplemental 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.

Clemma Muller (PI); Luciana Hebert – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
Southcentral Foundation
“Southcentral Foundation Satellite Research Methods Core”
This contract provides funding for WSU researchers to support the Southcentral Foundation Satellite Research Methods Core. The core will provide quantitative research methods support, as well as other research support services to the Southcentral Foundation, a tribal health care services organization based in Anchorage, Alaska.

Lonnie Nelson (PI) – College of Nursing/ Community Health
University of New Mexico/National Institutes of Health
“Rhythm and Timing Exercises for Cerebrovascular Disease in American Indians”
This funding renews a subaward for a study to determine whether culturally adapted interactive metronome therapy can improve cognitive function among older American Indians with cerebrovascular disease. Interactive metronome is a form of behavioral therapy that attempts to improve cognitive functioning through mass-practice of simple, repetitive millisecond timing motor tasks—such as clapping hands or tapping feet—in time with a set beat. Through visual and auditory feedback, interactive metronome addresses processing speed, attention, and immediate and delayed memory, all of which can be affected by cerebrovascular disease.

Lonnie Nelson (PI); Hans Van Dongen; Astrid Suchy-Dicey; Kimberly Honn; Celestina Barbosa-Leiker – College of Nursing/Community Health; Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep and Performance Research Center
National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Minority Health Disparities
“American Indian CHronic disEase RIsk and Sleep Health (AI-CHERISH)”
Studies have suggested that sleep disorders are at least as prevalent among American Indians and Alaska Natives as they are in the U.S. population overall. However, there haven’t been any studies that have extensively examined the epidemiology of sleep problems in a representative sample of American Indians. This award continues funding for an innovative mixed-methods study that will allow the research team to estimate the prevalence of sleep problems in Native populations and their associations with specific cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. In addition, they will characterize cultural factors related to sleep health. The study will recruit 750 American Indian participants who were previously enrolled in the Strong Heart Family Study and will be the largest epidemiological examination of sleep health and cardiovascular and metabolic risk to date.

Astrid Suchy-Dicey (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Lonnie Nelson –Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/Community Health
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Incident Vascular Brain Injury, Probable Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Change in Elderly American Indians”
This award continues funding for the analysis of data related to vascular brain injury and cognitive impairment in American Indians. The data is being collected as part of a follow-up study to the Cerebrovascular Disease and its Consequences in American Indians study, which examined 1,000 American Indians aged 64 to 95 years from 2010 to 2013. Participants from that study received clinical examinations, neuropsychological testing, and brain MRIs. A follow-up study was started in 2016 to re-examine surviving participants according to the same protocols, with the addition of assessments for probable Alzheimer’s disease. As part of this newly funded project, the research team will quantify and evaluate associations for incident vascular brain injury, neurodegeneration, and changes in cognitive status in this elderly minority population identified in the data.

Zhenjia Wang (PI); Santanu Bose – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences/College of Veterinary Medicine
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
“Active Drug Loading to Nanovesicles for Targeted Drug Delivery”
As part of this study, the researchers will test a new drug delivery platform based on neutrophils—a type of white blood cells that play a key role in the body’s natural immune response. Neutrophil-based nanovesicles—hollow cell membranes loaded up with drug molecules—have the same characteristics as neutrophils, which are driven by our immune system to travel to inflammatory sites to help fight infection. This award provides continued funding to validate and refine the new technology in an animal model of acute lung injury, a type of respiratory failure that involves inflammation in the lungs.

Zhenjia Wang (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National Institutes of Health; National Institute of General Medical Sciences
“Neutrophil-mediated Drug Delivery – Administrative Supplement for Equipment”
This is supplemental funding for a five‐year project to study how neutrophils—the most abundant type of white blood cells in the bloodstream—could be used as a vehicle for delivering therapeutic nanoparticles to specific parts of the body. The supplement provides funds to update the current intravital microscope in the investigator’s lab to support the research. Findings from the study may eventually lay the foundation for the design of new drugs to treat inflammatory disorders underlying acute and chronic diseases, including cancer.

Jonathan Wisor (PI); Barbara Sorg Ingermann – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine; WSU Vancouver
National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke
“Sleep Deprivation Elevates, and Sleep Alleviates, Oxidative Stress in the Brain”
Sleep is essential for the reversal of deficits in cognition and performance that build up during wakefulness. Scientists have known that brain metabolism slows down during sleep, which is shown by a decline in brain temperature and the brain’s decreased use of glucose and oxygen. It is believed that this metabolic down state is essential for the restorative function of sleep, but scientists are not sure what biochemical processes underlie this relationship. This continuing project will seek to establish a causal relationship between sleep/wake cycles and brain redox status—the balance of oxidation and reduction reactions in the brain—and will identify brain oxidation/reduction reactions that could be targeted for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

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 will eventually relapse and progress into fatal castrate-resistant prostate cancer, which grows despite low testosterone levels. This award provides a funding increase for a study that 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; characterize 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 may provide a basis for developing new combination therapeutic strategies for advanced prostate cancer.