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Last modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Indiana CTSI awards nearly $3 million to promising, innovative medical researchers

June 15, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute has awarded nearly $3 million to a new generation of medical students and researchers at Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame to encourage home-grown innovation in Indiana.

Indiana CTSI

These scholarships and pilot funds will support students and researchers at multiple institutions within the three member universities. Approximately $2.3 million dollars will support career development grants to young physicians and scientists working on promising research projects. An additional $500,000 will support new research projects aimed at advancing the fight against diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.

"We're investing heavily in developing the next generation of medical researchers to strengthen projects which may one day generate new treatments and therapies in Indiana and beyond," said Anantha Shekhar, M.D., director of the Indiana CTSI. "By providing an early boost to promising projects, the Indiana CTSI gives select scientists the tools they need to attract new research dollars to the region from outside sources, including the federal government and industry."

The scholarship component is designed to encourage research by new scientists and scientists-in-training, he added, including tuition support for courses focused on developing skills related to "translating" research into new products and treatments that will make a lasting impact on the local community.

The pilot funds are provided by the Indiana CTSI Collaboration in Translational Research (CTR) Awards. This program requires participation from scientists at two or more member institutions or campuses -- IU, IUPUI, IU Bloomington, Purdue and Notre Dame -- to encourage statewide collaboration. The scholarships are provided by the Indiana CTSI Young Investigator (K Award) and Training Awards (T Award) programs. Graduate student recipients also receive health insurance coverage.

Together, these awards span six teams of scientists from the schools of medicine and dentistry at IU and veterinary medicine and biomedical engineering at Purdue, and 39 scientists and students studying biochemistry, medical informatics, microbiology, neuroscience, nursing, ophthalmology, pediatrics, pharmacology and toxicology, psychology, public health, radiology and surgery at IU, Purdue and Notre Dame.

Collaboration in Translational Research Awardees:

  • Johnathan D. Tune, associate professor of cellular and integrative physiology, IU School of Medicine, and Ji-Xin Cheng, associate professor of biomedical engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, on "Perivascular adipose-derived leptin and metabolic syndrome induced coronary disease." (Additional collaborators include Michael Sturek, professor and chair of cellular and integrative physiology, IU School of Medicine, and Alexander Obukhov, assistant professor of cellular and integrative physiology.)
  • Riyi Shi, M.D., professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, and David Mattson, M.D., professor of neurology, IU School of Medicine, on "Basic and Clinical Investigations into a Novel Therapeutic Target for Multiple Sclerosis."
  • Melissa Kacena, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, IU School of Medicine, and Angela Bruzzaniti, assistant professor of oral biology, IU School of Dentistry, on "Megakaryoctes and Pyk2 as Anabolic Stimulators of Bone Formation."
  • Ourania Andrisani, professor of basic medical sciences, Purdue University, and Liang Cheng, M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, IU School of Medicine, on "Hypoxia and Hypoxia-induced micro RNAs in Advanced Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer and Neuronal Differentiation." (Additional collaborators include Donna Fekete, professor of biological sciences, Purdue University.)
  • Jian-Ting Zhang, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, IU School of Medicine, and Ji-Xin Cheng, associate professor of analytical and physical chemistry, Purdue University, on "Dual functional nanoparticles targeting cancer stem cells for improved treatment of breast cancers."
  • Sophie Lelievre, D.V.M., associate professor of basic medical sciences, Purdue University, and Brittney-Shea Herbert, associate professor of medical and molecular genetics, IU School of Medicine, on "Malleable Tissue Models for the Assessment of Breast Cancer Risk, the Identification of Biomarkers and the Design of Prevention Strategies."
  • L. Jack Windsor, associate professor of oral biology, IU School of Dentistry, and Matthew Allen, assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology, IU School of Medicine, on "Bone and Connective Tissue Regeneration Agent for Osteoporosis."

Young Investigator Awardees:

Shawn Ahlfeld, M.D. (IU School of Medicine), Lauren Bell, (IU School of Medicine), John Breinholt, M.D. (IU School of Medicine), Jon Duke, M.D. (IU School of Medicine), Laura Hays, (IUPUI-Nursing), Shoji Ichikawa, (IU School of Medicine), Philip Johnson, (IU School of Medicine), Melissa Kacena, (IU School of Medicine), Elaine Lipscomb, (IU School of Medicine), Catherine Mosher, (IUPUI), Julie Otte, (IUPU-Nursing), Brian Samuels, M.D., (IUPUI), Joshua Shrout, (Notre Dame), Margie Snyder, Pharm.D. (Purdue University), Ragini Vittal, (IU School of Medicine), Zhanxiang Wang, M.D., (IU School of Medicine) and Clark Wells, (IU School of Medicine).

Training Awardees:

Malene Abel (IU Bloomington), Juan Cardenas (Purdue University), James Clancy (Notre Dame), Daniel DiRenzo (Purdue University), Brandon Downing (IU School of Medicine), Rikki Enzor (IU School of Medicine), William Fadel (IUPUI), Sarah Forster (IU Bloomington), Johanna Hassink (Purdue University), Basma Ibrahim (Purdue University), Karl Koehler (IU School of Medicine), Andrew Koivunemi (Purdue University), Whitney Kramer (IU School of Medicine), Jill Layton (IUPUI), Gary Leung (Purdue University), Matthew Makowski (Purdue University), Elizabeth Pfeiffer (IU Bloomington), Steven Rhodes (IU School of Medicine), Shannon Risacher (IU School of Medicine), TusaRebecca Schap (Purdue University), Christine Steeger (Notre Dame) and Krista Stilger (IU School of Medicine).

About the Indiana CTSI

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is a statewide collaboration of Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, as well as public and private partnerships, which facilitates the translation of scientific discoveries in the lab into new patient treatments in Indiana and beyond. Established in 2008 with a $25 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from National Institutions of Health, supplemented by approximately $60 million from the state, the three member universities, and public and private partners, the Indiana CTSI is a member of a national network of 60 CTSA-funded organizations across the United States.

For more information about Indiana CTSI, visit

For more information, contact Kevin Fryling at 317-278-0088 and