Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, Receives $2.4 Million Grant to Study Macular Degeneration

Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, professor of retinal diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been awarded a four-year grant totaling $2.4 million from the National Eye Institute as co-principal investigator on innovative research into age-related macular degeneration.

Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, professor of retinal diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been awarded a four-year grant totaling $2.4 million from the National Eye Institute as co-principal investigator on innovative research into age-related macular degeneration.

Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, Plough Foundation Professor of Retinal Diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Hamilton Eye Institute, has a successful history of collaborating with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to battle diseases of the eye. [Read more...]

UTHSC Graduate Research Assistant Sarah Neuner Receives $172,480 Grant for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Research

A $172,480 grant from the National Institute on Aging, an NIH subsidiary, will allow graduate research assistant Sarah Neuner to identify genes that may influence a person’s likelihood for  developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

A $172,480 grant from the National Institute on Aging, an NIH subsidiary, will allow graduate research assistant Sarah Neuner to identify genes that may influence a person’s likelihood for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Although gene mutations that cause early onset Alzheimer’s disease have been identified, the vast majority of cases result from what is known as “sporadic,” or late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), which has no known cause.  Sarah Neuner’s research focuses on identifying currently unknown genes that influence a person’s likelihood of developing LOAD.

Neuner, a graduate research assistant in the lab of Catherine Kaczorowski, PhD, in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $172,480 from the National Institute on Aging, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be used to support a project titled, “Identification of Genetic Modifiers of Neuronal Deficits and Memory Failure in Alzheimer’s Disease.” The award will be distributed over four years.

Identifying those genes that modify susceptibility to LOAD in human studies has proven challenging, in part due to large genomic variability in individuals. In contrast, animal studies suffer from the opposite problem – too little genetic diversity, as most traditional studies utilize one inbred Alzheimer’s disease (AD) mouse model. Therefore, Neuner and her collaborators have developed a new panel of AD mice that model some of the genetic complexity of human populations, which is thought to contribute to the “sporadic” nature of the disease. In this project, the research team will measure memory function as well as clinically relevant markers of AD in this panel throughout their lifespan in order to determine which strains are more or less prone to developing AD. Results from these tests will be used to pinpoint the region or regions in the genome that contain genes influencing the susceptibility and/or resistance of an individual strain to AD. Once these genes have been identified, gene therapy tools will be used to prevent or reverse AD-related memory deficits. Research outcomes, combined with insight from analysis of available human datasets, will allow researchers to prioritize candidates with the best potential to translate into treatments for use in human populations.

If successful, this research may uncover new therapeutic targets that can be used to delay, prevent, or cure Alzheimer’s disease in humans. They may also be useful as “biomarkers” to identify individuals who are at high risk, enabling earlier detection and treatment, which would ultimately result in better outcomes for both patients and their families.

“I am extremely fortunate and thankful to have received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging, which will provide support for my doctoral training over the next four years,” said Neuner. “My mentor, Dr. Catherine Kaczorowski, and the co-sponsor of this award, Dr. Rob Williams, will provide training on research design, ethics, grantsmanship, and additional career development opportunities that are essential for progressing towards a career as an independent scientist. Working closely with Drs. Kaczorowski and Williams in the development of this project has allowed me to learn from experts in the three fields I am very interested in – aging, Alzheimer’s disease and genetics – and combine the two in new ways. This award is especially important to me because it will help me achieve my goal of making significant contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s disease genetics and to the understanding of the mechanisms causing this disease.”

The National Institute on Aging remains committed to understanding the aging process and prolonging life. It is the primary agency that supports and conducts Alzheimer’s research. For more information, visit www.nia.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Tim Saltuklaroglu, PhD, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology Receive $417,625 Grant to Study Brain Activity Related to Stuttering

Tim Saltuklaroglu, PhD, left, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, of the UTHSC Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology have received a $417,625 NIH grant to investigate brain activity associated with stuttering.

Tim Saltuklaroglu, PhD, left, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, of the UTHSC Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology have received a $417,625 NIH grant to investigate brain activity associated with stuttering.

Approximately 5 percent of all children stutter for some period of time, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Many recover, but for those who do not, stuttering often progresses and severely impairs communication. [Read more...]

Mojdeh Dehghan, DDS, of the UTHSC College of Dentistry Honored by American Association of Women Dentists

Receives Grant to Test Newly Developed Mouthwash to Prevent Dental Erosion in Women with Eating Disorders

Mojdeh Dehghan

Mojdeh Dehghan

Mojdeh Dehghan, DDS, assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry in the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, was honored by the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) with the 2014 Proctor and Gamble/Gillette Hayden Memorial Foundation Research Award. This award is accompanied by a grant designed to support innovative scientific discoveries that will advance new concepts in women’s oral health research and encourage the study of gender differences in oral health care delivery and its practice.

Dr. Dehghan and her colleagues have developed a mouthwash that will prevent dental erosion in patients with eating disorders. The aim of the study is to determine its effectiveness. [Read more...]

Teresa Waters, Chair of Preventive Medicine, Receives $749,998 Grant to Study Medicare Penalties for Hospital Readmissions

A $749,998 grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality will allow Dr. Teresa Waters, pictured with team members Dr. Cameron Kaplan (left) and Dr. Tao Li, to examine the effects of Medicare hospital readmission policies.

A $749,998 grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality will allow Dr. Teresa Waters, pictured with team members Dr. Cameron Kaplan (left) and Dr. Tao Li, to examine the effects of Medicare hospital readmission policies.

Almost 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals will be readmitted within 30 days, costing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) almost $25 billion per year. [Read more...]

GTx and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation Enter Into Exclusive License Agreement to Develop SARD Drug Candidate to Treat Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

GTx, Inc. today announced that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) to develop its proprietary selective androgen receptor degrader (SARD) technology which potentially can degrade and inhibit all forms of androgen receptor (AR), including those resistant to current therapies, to inhibit tumor growth in patients with progressive castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). [Read more...]

Professor Byron Jones Awarded $2.6 Million to Study Toxicity of the Herbicide Paraquat on the Brain

 A $2.6 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will allow Dr. Byron Jones and his collaborators to further investigate if Paraquat, a weed killer, poses risks for brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

A $2.6 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will allow Dr. Byron Jones and his collaborators to further investigate if Paraquat, a weed killer, poses risks for brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Paraquat is a weed killer used extensively in agriculture in the United States and other parts of the world. It is suspected to increase risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.
Byron Jones, PhD, and his research team are using newly awarded funds to investigate individual toxicity to the chemical on certain areas of the brain.

Dr. Jonesa professor in the Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $2.6 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. [Read more...]

Professor George Huang, DDS, of UTHSC Receives 2015 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology

Dr. George Huang is the 2015 Recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology and Regeneration from the International Association for Dental Research.

Dr. George Huang is the 2015 Recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology and Regeneration from the International Association for Dental Research.

George Huang, DDS, director and professor in the Department of Bioscience Research in the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), is the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Scientist Award in Pulp Biology given by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).

Dr. Huang was recognized during the opening ceremonies of the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the IADR, which were held in Boston in conjunction with the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and the 39th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research. [Read more...]