Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Grant and Contract Awards

FY2023, 4th Quarter Summary
(April 1 – June 30, 2023)

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

NEW & TRANSFER AWARDS

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

Dedra Buchwald (co-PI); Patrik Johansson (co-PI); Clemma Muller; Solmaz Amiri; Jeff Haney – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
Evergreen Social Impact; Andy Hill CARE Fund
“Cancer Inequities in Underserved Populations in Washington: Solutions from Public and Private Data and Patient and Provider Perspectives”
The goal of this study is to advance cancer prevention in rural, non-white, and underserved communities in Washington State, which suffer disproportionately higher cancer rates. The researchers will use 2010-2019 data from the Washington State Cancer Registry data and other sources to conduct a geospatial analysis of risk factors for cancer outcomes. These data will generate maps of hot (negative) and cold (positive) spots for cancer outcomes. Assisted by medical student ambassadors, the research team will then interview administrators, providers, and cancer patients at 10 rural practices in cancer hot and cold spots in primary care practices within the Northwest Health Education Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON). These interviews will help identify barriers to and facilitators of positive cancer outcomes to support future public health programs. The study will be conducted in collaboration with the emerging WSU Community Centered Health Home Initiative, which centers on bringing quality healthcare to rural communities.

Dedra Buchwald (co-PI); Patrik Johansson (co-PI); Clemma Muller; Solmaz Amiri; Jeff Haney – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
Community Foundation for SW Washington
“Cancer Inequities in Underserved Populations in Washington: Solutions from Public and Private Data and Patient and Provider Perspectives”
This award represents matching funds for the project described above funded by the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment (CARE).

Travis Denton (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
US Department of Veterans Affairs; Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
“Accelerating remyelination using lanthionine ketimine derivatives”
This award funds WSU’s contribution to a multiple sclerosis research project led by the University of Illinois Chicago. The goal of the project is to determine whether lanthionine ketimine ethyl ester (LKE)—a derivative of a naturally occurring amino acid—can induce remyelination in multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease that attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. As part of this study, the Denton laboratory will synthesize LKE and LKE derivatives for use in in-vitro and in-vivo testing. In addition, the WSU team will test LKE and LKE derivatives for toxicity, membrane permeability, and stability.

Jordan Ferris (PI); Marian Wilson – College of Nursing
Office of Research, WSU Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program (ADARP)
“Barriers and Facilitators in the Return-to-Work Process of Registered Nurses”
There is a critical shortage of registered nurses in the U.S. Increasing burnout and moral distress can contribute to the development of substance use disorders, which can result in affected nurses being removed from the workplace. The return-to-work process is complicated by different license restrictions and orders from the board of nursing, and little is known about the barriers and facilitators to this process. The goal of this dissertation research project is to understand the return-to-work process for nurses and the barriers and facilitators within that process as nurses experience it. To that end, the researchers will collect qualitative and quantitative data from 20 to 30 participants who have completed or are in the process of completing their return-to-work process through the RN Refresher Program at WSU. Findings from the study could help determine how to create better pathways back to work and retain RNs in a shrinking workforce.

Luciana Hebert (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
University of Colorado – Denver/American Diabetes Association
“Exploring food insecurity and pilot testing a diabetes nutrition education program and food security resource for American Indian and Alaska Native adults with type 2 diabetes”
Healthy nutrition habits are key to managing type 2 diabetes. American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) often lack access to culturally relevant nutrition education and disproportionately experience food insecurity, which leads to diabetes health disparities. This subaward funds WSU’s role in a randomized controlled trial to test whether AI/ANs with type 2 diabetes who receive both culturally relevant diabetes nutrition education and a food security resource will have improved outcomes compared with those who receive only diabetes nutrition education or only a food security resource. Outcomes measured will include blood glucose levels, blood pressure, dietary intake, diabetes distress, and food security.

Kristina Lindquist (PI) – – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
The Arnold P Gold Foundation
“Willed Body Program Donor Celebration”
This award funds a Willed Body Donor Ceremony hosted this May by the College of Medicine’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a community of medical students, physicians, and other leaders who have been recognized for their compassionate care. This special celebration provided medical students and faculty an opportunity to express their gratitude to the families of those who donated their bodies for the purpose of medical education. During the hourlong ceremony, anatomy faculty spoke on the program and the impact it has made, medical students shared their reflections, and families of donors had an opportunity to share about their loved ones before they were presented with a book containing students’ reflections.

Michael McDonell (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
Gila River Indian Community/Gila River Health Care Community
“Gila River Healthcare Authority Contingency Management”
This grant provides funding for the WSU Promoting Research Initiatives in Mental Health and Substance Use (PRISM) Collaborative to provide contingency management training to health care clinicians at the Gila River Health Care Community in Sacaton, Arizona. Contingency management is a behavioral intervention that uses small prizes and other incentives to promote abstinence from substances. The Gila River Health Care Community—a tribal healthcare organization—is implementing a contingency management model for psychostimulant drugs that will be used by Gila River Health Care clinicians in multiple regions of Arizona.

Kimberly McKeirnan (PI); Megan Undeberg – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Merck & Company
“COVID-19: Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative examination of rural community vaccination efforts and patient vaccination confidence”
As part of this study, WSU researchers will conduct key informant interviews with rural community experts to better understand lessons learned from COVID-19 community outreach vaccination efforts during the pandemic. These experts will be recruited from within WSU Extension, which serves all areas of diverse populations in the 39 counties of Washington state as well as the Colville Reservation. By partnering with county Extension agents throughout the state, the research team will be able to tap into their collective knowledge of their communities. This will help them look for new ways to maximize access to information about vaccines and identify innovative ways to increase vaccine delivery, especially to those residing in rural, remote, and underserved areas.

Sterling McPherson (PI); – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Oregon Health and Sciences University/National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
“Tele-Collaborative Outreach to Rural Patients with Chronic Pain: The CORPs Trial”
This award provides funds for WSU to assist with the design, execution, and analysis of a clinical trial—led by investigators at the Oregon Health and Sciences University—that will test a telehealth collaborative care intervention for rural patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Findings from this project may inform future studies that could be the basis for an intervention to improve clinical and health service outcomes for patients who are experiencing long-term chronic pain.

Sterling McPherson (PI); John Roll; Devon Hansen; Crystal Smith; Andre Miguel; Matthew Layton; Nicole Rodin – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine; College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Office of Research, WSU Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program (ADARP)
“Mirtazapine for the Treatment of Methamphetamine Use in Opioid Use Disorder Patients Receiving Medication Assisted Treatment”
Methamphetamine use has increased significantly among patients seeking treatment for opioid use disorder. Patients who use both methamphetamine and opioids have worse clinical outcomes and lower retention rates, and the costs for these patients are magnitudes higher as they experience greater rates of various physical and mental health conditions. There is currently no FDA-approved drug to treat methamphetamine use. This project involves a 10-week trial to test the effectiveness of the antidepressant drug mirtazapine (MZP) among patients who are on medications for opioid use disorder versus a matched placebo. The researchers will examine whether those patients who are given MZP use less methamphetamine; use fewer other substances of misuse, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and opioids; and demonstrate improvements in health-impairing outcomes, such as anxiety, stress, sleep quality, and HIV risk behaviors.

Bhagwat Prasad (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
SRI International/National institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
“Experimental Identification of Metabolites and the Mechanism of Metabolic Elimination of 11ß-Methyl-19-nortestosterone and Two Prodrugs”
This award provides funds for work done by WSU to determine the metabolic stability, metabolite profile, and enzymes responsible for metabolism of an investigational male contraceptive agent, 11ß-Methyl-19-nortestosterone (11ß-MNT), and its two prodrugs (pharmacologically inactive medications or compounds that are metabolized into a pharmacologically active drug once taken). The researchers will conduct their testing using advanced imaging techniques on human in vitro systems—such as liver cells and intestinal microsomes.

Ken Roberts (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Career Connect Washington
“Career Connect Washington Intermediary Funding”
This project involves the development of a junior high-high school mentorship program to expand health care career awareness in Stevens County. Based on the existing WSU Health Sciences Mentorship Program (formerly known as the Stevens County Mentorship Program), the expansion would offer a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Fire Science & Emergency Services course to 11th grade students. To be developed in partnership with Stevens County Fire District 1 and the Mary Walker school district, the course will be designed for students who have completed the 7th to 10th grade components of the WSU Health Sciences Mentorship Program and will feed into an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course for seniors that is slated to be developed in the future. Together, these two courses will set up youth from Springdale in Stevens County to qualify for jobs as first responders and technicians in the healthcare system.

Crystal Smith (PI); – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology/Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
“Process evaluation of employee benefit genetic screening tests”
As part of this study, WSU will conduct a process evaluation of an employee benefit program to provide genetic screening. The evaluation will cover organizational barriers to implementing genetic screening programs in non-genetics clinics as part of an employee health benefits program; identification of the most effective strategies to overcome these barriers; and the best ways to disseminate genetic screening programs as an employee health benefit in the state of Alabama.

Alexander Stumphauzer (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
MultiCare
“Transitions of Care Clinical Staff Assignment – MultiCare”
This new staff assignment provides funds for Alex Stumphauzer, PharmD, to devote 50 percent of his time to MultiCare Medical Hospital and Cancer and Blood Specialty Centers programs. Stumphauzer’s primary responsibilities at MultiCare will be pharmacy department support, including overseeing the development and implementation of innovative clinical pharmacy services, participation in quality improvement initiatives, providing education and training, establishment of an independent clinical research program, supervising pharmacy students, and participating in instructional programs at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Astrid Suchy-Dicey (PI); Dedra Buchwald – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
Columbia University/National institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Bayesian Statistical Learning for Robust and Generalizable Causal Inferences in Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders Research”
This award funds the development and application of novel statistical techniques to determine gaps in knowledge in determining the cause of the health effects of environmental exposures on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) in observational studies with long follow-up. This includes methodological challenges—such as selection bias issues, participants dying prior to being diagnosed with ADRD, and drop-out due to cognitive impairment—as well as other limitations. The new approaches will be used to investigate the effects of exposure to air pollution and heavy metals in mid- and late life on ADRD outcomes and cardiovascular disease risks in the Strong Heart Study cohort of Native Americans and the Normative Aging Study of Veterans in the Greater Boston Area. They will also be used to quantify the role of cardiovascular disease trajectory, onset, and severity in mid- and late life as mediators of the neurotoxic effects of these environmental exposures.

Jessica Ullrich (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
Spaulding for Children/US Department of Health; Administration for Children and Families
“Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Permanency (QIC-EY) Site Consultant for Hawai’i”
This award provides funding for the investigator to serve as a site consultant for the Hawai’i site of the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY). Led by Spaulding for Children in partnership with other agencies, QIC-EY is charged with advancing child welfare programs and practice to ensure that they are engaging and empowering children and youth in foster care throughout the U.S., especially in relation to decisions around permanency—a child’s legal relationship with a parenting adult. Ullrich will assist with implementation of the QIC-EY workforce training, coaching model, court training, program model, and capacity building for systems change.

Jiyue Zhu (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
“Regulation of human telomerase”
This five-year Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) funds work to decipher the molecular mechanisms of telomerase regulation during development. Telomeres are the protective caps of chromosomal ends. In adult humans, telomeres get shorter every time cells multiply. This ultimately causes cells to lose their ability to proliferate, a process known as replicative aging. In stem cells, cancer cells, and certain other types of cells, telomerase lengthens telomeres to compensate for their loss during cell proliferation. Telomerase regulation is critical for human aging and influences the risk of cancer and many age-related diseases. While recent advancements on telomerase regulation in cancer cells have greatly improved scientists’ understanding of human telomerase gene activation during cancer development, it remains unknown why these mechanisms are repressed in other cell types. As part of this project, the researchers will use their unique tools to address fundamental mechanisms critical to telomerase regulation and telomere maintenance in humans and ultimately the mechanisms of telomere-associated human diseases.

AWARDS FOR ONGOING WORK

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

Ofer Amram (PI); Pablo Monsivais; Solmaz Amiri – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Washington State Department of Health
“Environmental Health Disparities Map”
This contract provides renewal funding for Washington State University to develop the Washington Environmental Health Disparities map as outlined in the Health Environment for All (HEAL) Act, which was passed in 2021 as a step toward eliminating environmental and health disparities among communities of color and low-income households. The map is a free online tool that ranks the cumulative risk each neighborhood in Washington faces from environmental factors that influence health outcomes. Specifically, this project will involve the creation of a pesticide exposure variable for inclusion in the map, based on data from the United States Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment Project and United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The researchers will also develop a method to track changes in environmental health inequities for inclusion in the interactive display hosted on the Washington Tracking Network.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Luciana Hebert – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/Community Health
University of Colorado at Denver/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Native Elder Research Center”
Native elders are at greater risk for numerous acute and chronic illnesses, have less access to needed care, and are slower to seek care, leading to complications. This grant provides renewal funding for WSU’s efforts to collaborate with the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD) to close these gaps and increase the participation of Native people in related research through UCD’s Native Elder Research Center.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Astrid Suchy-Dicey; Clemma Muller – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing/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 renewal award supports 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 funds 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 project uses 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. The other project, which is being conducted in partnership with the University of Arizona, is 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, an NIH-funded program to improve treatment and prevention strategies based on people’s individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetics.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Patrik Johansson – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“The Native Research and Resource Core and the Outreach, Recruitment, and Education Core to the Biological heterogeneity in ADRD”
This award provides additional funding for WSU’s participation in the Native Research and Resource Core within the University of Washington’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). The goal of the core is to determine if, and under what circumstances, American Indian/Alaska Native tribal nations would be willing to allow data on their citizens to be shared with the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center. The WSU researchers will achieve this through focus groups and key informant interviews with American Indian and Alaska Native stakeholders, as well as workshops and interviews with key tribal authorities. The researchers will also design culturally informed health programming, continue to engage tribal clinics in understanding and addressing dementia, and improve individual knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias at community events.

Dedra Buchwald (PI); Patrik Johansson; Gary Ferguson – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
University of Washington/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Biological heterogeneity in ADRD”
This award provides supplemental funds for WSU’s participation in the Native Research and Resource Core within the University of Washington’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), described in the previous summary. The supplement will fund two complementary activities centered on participants and the rural and urban tribal entities that control data and access to American Indian/Alaska Native elders. One is to conduct 10 focus groups and key informant interviews comprised of various American Indian and Alaska Native stakeholders to review the protocol used by the University of Washington Clinical Core to understand specific facilitators and barriers to participation (e.g. single versus annual visits). This will help them determine if, and under what circumstances, Clinical Core data might be shared with the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center. As part of the other activity, the researchers will apply the information learned in Phase 1 and, through the Native Research and Resource Core, offer modified options to participate in study visits that still align with the Clinical Core and National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center protocols.

Ekaterina Burduli (PI – College of Nursing
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
“Effective Caregiving for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Development of an Instructional Mobile Technology Platform for High-Risk Pregnant Women”
This award continues an NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award for a study to address the lack of interventions that prepare pregnant opioid-addicted women for the challenges of caring for a newborn at risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). It will involve adaptation of an existing mobile NAS tool for clinician training and decision support to high-risk pregnant women, based on the recommendations on the management of NAS by neonatology experts, NAS care providers, and mothers with NAS-affected babies gathered through a series of interviews. The researchers will then test the usability, acceptability, and feasibility of the adapted mobile tool via surveys with 10 pregnant women receiving opioid agonist therapy (OAT) at Spokane Regional Health District’s Opioid Treatment Program and Evergreen Recovery Center. Finally, they will conduct a randomized controlled trial in which 30 high-risk pregnant women seen at these facilities will receive either the adapted mobile NAS caregiving tool or usual care. Outcomes compared between the two groups include maternal drug relapse and OAT continuation, maternal-newborn bonding, length of newborn hospital stays, and readmissions rates, breastfeeding initiation and duration, and postpartum depression and anxiety at 4, 8, and 12 weeks postpartum. Findings will serve as pilot data for a larger trial to test the efficacy of the adapted NAS caregiving tool at reducing poor outcomes in NAS-affected newborns and their mothers.

Dawn DeWitt (PI); Marian Wilson; Connie Remsberg; Skye McKennon – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine; College of Nursing; College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
US Department of Health and Human Services, Resources & Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce
“Rethinking Education on Substance use through inter-Professional Education and Rural Community Training (RESPECT)”
This award provides continued funding for a five-year project to train faculty, students, and rural primary care providers in Washington State on interprofessional education approaches to caring for patients at risk for opioid use disorder. The program builds on an interprofessional curriculum that was previously created and piloted by the core WSU project team. The curriculum is a team-based facilitated interprofessional education simulation that uses standardized patients to enhance student learning about providing care to patients taking opioids. It is being used to train faculty and students in a variety of health professions disciplines—including medicine, nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, social work, and chemical dependency—as well primary practice teams at rural clinic sites across Washington State. The curriculum will be tailored, implemented, and continuously evaluated across five years’ time with an active examination of changing policies and best practices on opioid use for pain and opioid use disorder.

Glen Duncan (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Dept. of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology
University of Arizona/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“COVID-19: Genetically Informed Studies of Social Connectedness and Health”
This NIH subaward funds WSU’s continued contributions to a five-year study on the relationships between social connectedness and health, led by the University of Arizona. High-quality social relationships are correlated with decreased risk for chronic disease and death from a range of health conditions. Likewise, poor-quality relationships or social disconnection are correlated with considerable risk for a range of negative health outcomes, including decreases in cognitive functioning, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia in middle aged and older adults. However, correlations alone do not point to causal mechanisms. To address the limited causal evidence, the researchers will conduct a study of 1,000 adult twin pairs from the Washington State Twin Registry, looking at key social connection variables—such as social integration, relationship satisfaction, and attachment styles—as well as neuropsychological assessments of each twin. The researchers will compare data across four groups of twins—fraternal and identical twin pairs with discordant marital status (i.e., one twin is married and the other is not) and fraternal and identical twin pairs with both twins in intact marriages. The ultimate goal is to reveal the causal significance of social connection on cognitive outcomes linked to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Gary Ferguson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine /Community Health
University of Colorado Denver/National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
“Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Diabetes Translation Research (CDTR) – Research”
This renewal award provides funding for the Pacific Northwest satellite center of the Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Diabetes Translation Research, which is based at the University of Colorado Denver. The goal of the main center is to improve the diabetes-related health of American Indian and Alaska Native people by extending prevention and management research of proven efficacy to both clinical and community settings in American Indian/Alaska Native communities. The Pacific Northwest satellite center will engage local tribes in activities aimed at increasing awareness related to diabetes translational research among American Indians and Alaska Natives; organize and sponsor annual regional conferences about diabetes translational research among American Indian and Alaska Native populations; and develop a regional plan for disseminating the work and research findings of the center.

Gary Ferguson (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine /Community Health
University of Washington/American Diabetes Association
“Pilot study of a culturally tailored diabetes education curriculum with real-time continuous glucose monitoring in a Latinx population with type 2 diabetes”
Type 2 diabetes is especially prevalent in the Latinx community. The implementation of diabetes education—a cornerstone of treatment for type 2 diabetes (T2D)—has been hindered by barriers such as lack of culturally tailored content and limited patient access. Expanded efforts to design and implement culturally specific behavioral interventions for diabetes management are urgently needed. Clinical data support the efficacy of a culturally tailored diabetes self–management education program known as Compañeros en Salud (Partners in Health) that was created for Latinx populations and piloted in Washington state. To increase the impact of the curriculum, there is a need to optimize delivery strategies to maximize patient access and engagement and identify added interventions. Based on prior research that shows that patients with type 2 diabetes benefit from real-time continuous glucose monitoring, this subaward funds a study of the feasibility and efficacy of delivering the Compañeros en Salud curriculum via a novel team-based telemedicine approach coupled with a randomized trial of continuous glucose monitoring and real-time continuous glucose monitoring in Latinx individuals living with T2D.

Marcos Frank (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke
“Astroglial mechanisms in sleep homeostasis”
Common sleep problems such as excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia may be caused in part by changes in sleep homeostasis, the process that increases sleep drive, sleep amounts, and sleep intensity based on prior time awake. This grant-funded project builds on a previous discovery by the researchers that this process involves a type of brain cells known as glial astrocytes, even though the cellular mechanisms sleep homeostasis had been thought to be neuronal before then. The goal of this continuing study is to test the researchers’ hypothesis that sleep homeostasis arises from interactions between astrocytes and neurons and that sleep loss drives intracellular and molecular changes in astrocytes. The researchers will also study the role of astroglial mechanisms in sleep in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The work will provide new insight into the processes that drive abnormal sleep and could eventually lead to the development of new therapeutics that target glia to combat not only excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia but also Alzheimer’s disease.

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 of 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.

Kimberly Honn (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
“Predicting heat strain in metal and nonmetal miners”
This contract provides renewal 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.

Patrik Johansson (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Clemma Muller; Robert Rosenman; Ofer Amram – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health/Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
Wabanaki Public Health/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“Wabanaki Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH)”
The number of aging American Indians is expected to increase exponentially by 2050, which raises concerns about the likelihood of proportionate increases in health conditions associated with aging, especially Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. To address this issue, along with limited availability of health data on American Indians, WSU will establish the Wabanaki Native American Research Center for Health, a partnership between Wabanaki Public Health and the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) in the WSU College of Medicine. Wabanaki Public Health is a tribal public health district serving the four federally recognized tribes of Maine, which make up five tribal communities. The first tribal Native American Research Center for Health in the northeastern U.S., Wabanaki Native American Research Center for Health will fill important gaps in our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and mild cognitive impairment among older, understudied American Indians while also promoting the public health research capabilities of a tribal public health district. It will fulfill a unique and powerful role in reducing the health disparities experienced by Wabanaki tribal citizens.

Amanda Lamp (PI) – 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 for United Airlines as well as scientific consulting to United on all matters needed. Studied routes include short-haul, long-haul, and ultra-long-haul operations. This work also supports the airline’s use of fatigue risk management systems, a non-prescriptive approach to managing flight and duty times.

Michael McDonell (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Mayo Clinic/National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
“Alaska Native Family-Based, Financial Incentives Intervention for Smoking Cessation: an RCT”
As part of this continuing study, McDonell will help the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium team to adapt an effective smoking cessation intervention that uses financial incentives so that it is relevant to Alaska Native families and culture. The study will be conducted in Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna and Maniilaq regions and will involve conducting focus groups with AN smokers and family members to adapt the intervention; a pilot phase to test the financial incentives; and a trial phase to assess the impact of financial incentives on smoking cessation confirmed through urine testing.

Sterling McPherson (PI); John Roll; Michael McDonell; Ekaterina Burduli; Naomi Chaytor; Matthew Layton – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
“An Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment Based Treatment for Smokers with an Alcohol Use Disorder”
This continuing project involves a randomized controlled trial that will evaluate whether an incentive-based behavioral treatment that reinforces alcohol abstinence combined with the smoking cessation medication varenicline could successfully reduce both alcohol use and cigarette smoking among heavy-drinking smokers. Tobacco and alcohol combined kill more than half a million people each year in the U.S., making the addiction to these two substances combined the leading cause of preventable death.

April Needham (PI); Michaele Armstrong – WSU Spokane, SP3NW
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, University Center Economic Development Program
“Startup Support through Company Incubation”
Washington State University’s business incubator, SP3NW, supports startup companies through the development and delivery of scalable strategies in regional innovation. In addition to offering technical assistance, SP3NW provides value to members through ongoing coaching, connections to executive advisors and student consultants; resources and funding sources; design and engineering round tables; and educational and networking events. Membership in the incubator creates opportunity for connection with other resources within the university such as the I-Corps program, research service centers such as the Biomedical Engineering and Design Service Center for prototyping services, and industry-specific expertise. The shift to a virtual economy offers an opportunity to embed virtual offerings that extend access to programs and services to regionally based ventures in rural communities and tribal lands.

Lonnie Nelson (PI); Luciana Hebert – College of Nursing/Community Health
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health
“Caring Contacts: A Strength-based, Suicide Prevention Trial in 4 Native Communities”
This award provides continued funding for a study of the effectiveness of the Caring Contacts approach as a way of reducing suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide-related hospitalizations among Native American young adults. A recent study has found that suicide rates for Native American young adults in the Northern Plains and Alaska are much higher than those for white Americans in the same regions. The Caring Contacts approach uses text messages expressing care, concern, and interest to supplement standard suicide prevention. In a randomized, controlled trial, this study will compare the use of the Caring Contacts approach as a supplement to usual suicide prevention care versus usual care only in at-risk Native American young adults over a 12-month period.

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 on Minority Health and 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 have not been any studies that have extensively examined the epidemiology of sleep problems in a representative sample of American Indians. This award provides funding to continue 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.

Lonnie Nelson (PI); Dedra Buchwald; Clemma Muller – College of Nursing/Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Community Health
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
“URBAn Native Elders (URBANE): Risk and Protective Factors for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias”
This award provides continued funds for a study of the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their risk and protective factors in American Indian and Alaska Native people living in urban areas. This work is being conducted out of WSU Health Sciences’ Partnerships for Native Health research program, part of its Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH). Working with partner organizations, the study will recruit 1,200 men and women ages 55 and older from five geographically diverse metropolitan areas with large American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

James Nguyen (PI); Mary Paine – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
“Assessing Transporter-Mediated Natural Product-Drug Interactions Using a Translational Research Approach”
This F31 pre-doctoral fellowship expands on previous findings by the researchers that showed that taking the natural product goldenseal while taking the prescription drug metformin decreased levels of metformin in the body, which can impact glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. This latest study will further investigate the mechanisms of this natural product-drug interaction between goldenseal and metformin through pharmacokinetic modeling and simulation, as well as a clinical study in patients with type 2 diabetes. The intended outcome is a pharmacokinetic model that could accurately predict the goldenseal-metformin interaction. The knowledge gained from these efforts will also help the researchers build a systematic framework for effectively studying natural product-drug interactions mediated by transporters, proteins that facilitate absorption or expulsion of drug molecules in different tissues, such as the intestine, liver, and kidney.

Oladunni Oluwoye (PI); Solmaz Amiri; Michael McDonell – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/PRISM
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health
“Geographic Disparities in the Availability and Accessibility of Coordinated Specialty Care Programs for Early Psychosis”
Coordinated specialty care is the standard of care for early psychosis in the U.S., and approximately 350 such programs have been implemented in 49 states. Research has highlighted the importance of mental health services being available in proximity to an individual’s community. However, little is known about the spatial distribution and accessibility of these programs in the U.S. and whether their placement and distribution contribute to inequities in care. In this continuing study, Oluwoye and her colleagues will use advanced spatial analytics to better understand geographic inequities and accessibility of coordinated specialty care programs, which can be used to inform policy and guide the future implementation of coordinated specialty care programs in high-need areas with limited access.

Oladunni Oluwoye (PI); Liat Kriegel; Ekaterina Burduli – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/College of Nursing
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health
“A Family Peer Navigator Model to Increase Access and Initial Engagement in Coordinated Specialty Care Programs Among Black Families”
Family members have a key role in facilitating the initiation of mental health services. Yet, Black/African American families often encounter barriers and experience delays accessing coordinated specialty care programs. These delays can be attributed to individual (e.g., knowledge), interpersonal (e.g., connectedness), community (e.g., access), and societal (e.g., discrimination) factors. In other health-related areas, peer navigator models improve access to much-needed services and promote more positive experiences among individuals and their families. However, there have been no family peer navigator models developed to address the complexities that impact Black/African American families to improve access to coordinated specialty care programs. Preliminary research suggests approximately 70 percent of Black/African American family members report no contact with clinicians prior to initial diagnosis and receiving services for early psychosis. Building upon formative research, this continuing R34 study will use mixed methods across three phases to develop, refine, and pilot-test a multi-component Family Peer Navigator model designed to increase access and engagement in coordinated specialty care programs Black/African American families.

Julie Postma (PI)– College of Nursing
Castner Incorporated/National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
“Environmental Health Research Institute for Nurse and Clinician Scientists”
This is an increase in funding for a five-year grant that supports Dr. Julie Postma as she serves as faculty for an NIH-funded institute that educates nurse and clinician scientists on foundational concepts in environmental health. The goal is to prepare participants for conducting environmental health-related research. Postma’s contribution includes preparing and recording self-paced lectures for the virtual classroom; teaching and presenting at the annual workshop in June; and helping with the recruitment of workshop participants and event coordination for the 2026 annual workshop, which will be hosted at WSU Spokane.

Bhagwat Prasad (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Merck & Company
“Effect of rifampin treatment on hepatic transporter expression”
These are supplemental funds for a project to evaluate the effect of rifampin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis and other bacterial infections, on the expression in the liver of certain transporter and metabolic enzyme proteins. This work will benefit a clinical trial led by Merck, the agency funding the agreement.

Jingru Sun (PI) – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
“Administrative Supplements to Support Undergraduate Summer Research Experiences”
This award provides supplemental funding for a research study aimed at describing the relationship between the nervous system and the innate immune system in response to pathogen infection using C. elegans, a roundworm that is a commonly used model animal for studying the neural regulation of innate immunity. This project provides a summer research experience for an undergraduate student who will help investigate two important but poorly understood issues: how the nervous system and immune system interact to resolve infections and how they achieve innate immunity specificity, the quality that the innate immune system people are born with can respond differently to different pathogens. If infections do not fully resolve or the innate immune system doesn’t respond appropriately to specific pathogens this can lead to uncontrolled inflammation, which is a hallmark of many inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, sepsis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Understanding the molecular and neuronal mechanisms responsible for neural regulation of both infection resolution and innate immune specificity could help scientists develop new treatments for infectious diseases and innate immune disorders.

Éva Szentirmai (PI); Levente Kapas – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
“Novel mechanism in microbiota-brain communication: the role of the hepatoportal region”
This continuing study seeks to unravel novel mechanisms by which the brain aligns sleep-wake activity with metabolic, nutritional, and immune activity. The long-term objective is to identify mechanisms by which micro-organisms in the intestines communicate with the brain and their relevance to sleep regulation. Changes in the composition of these micro-organisms, as well as increased translocation of microbial products to the systemic circulation, are related to diseases such as central nervous system disorders. Identifying the role of bacterial products in sleep regulation is important because the gut flora is susceptible to changes in diet, environment, food additives and antibiotic treatment, which could lead to altered sleep. At the same time, the intestinal micro-organisms could also provide an easily accessible target for translational research to improve sleep.

Sergei Tolmachev (PI) – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
US Department of Energy, Office of Environment, Health, Safety & Security
“Manage and Operate the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries”
This award provides incremental funding for a five-year renewal award to manage and operate the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR). Designed as a program to improve radiation protection of nuclear workers, the USTUR studies the biokinetics and internal dosimetry of actinides (uranium, plutonium, and americium) in occupationally exposed individuals who volunteer their bodies, or portions of them, for scientific use after their death. These donations provide an opportunity to study the biological effects of radiation at the molecular level and serve as bases for epidemiological studies and standards for radiological protection. Published results of the Registries’ research contribute to the development of recommendations and standards issued by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements (NCRP).

Hans Van Dongen (PI); Brieann Satterfield – Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine/Sleep & Performance Research Center
University of Michigan/US Department of Defense, US Army
“Understanding and Predicting Cognitive Fatigue across Multiple Timescales, Distinct Aspects of Cognition, and Different Individuals with Multiscale Whole Cortex Models”
This subaward funds the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center’s continuing role in a five-year project funded as part of a US Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant. The overall goal of the project is to understand and predict cognitive fatigue in individuals, focusing on built-up fatigue in the brain such as during sleep deprivation and when individuals are working at times that do not align with their natural 24-hour sleep/wake rhythms. As part of this work, the researchers will build personalized mathematical models of sleep, circadian rhythms, physical activity and mood and optimize the efficacy of objective mobile sensors to detect the onset of cognitive fatigue. They will test the models’ predictive ability through controlled laboratory studies measuring the impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance, which will be conducted at the WSU Human Sleep and Cognition Laboratory in Spokane.

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.

Boyang Wu (PI); Kathryn Meier – College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
“Deciphering Mechanisms of Tumor-Stromal Interactions in Prostate Cancer”
The grant provides continued funding for a project that will try to unravel the molecular mechanisms by which non-cancerous stromal cells support the growth and progression of prostate cancer. The ultimate goal is to identify pathways that could be targeted with drugs to disrupt tumor-stromal interactions and potentially halt the spread of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer affects one in nine men and causes nearly 30,000 deaths in the United States each year.