Four research teams have been announced as the 2018 recipients for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) Collaborative Research Network (CORNET)-Clinical Awards.
Nearly two years since its inception, the CORNET Awards have been the seed of more than $1.3 million in funding to support new collaborative research teams and their groundbreaking initiatives. The winning teams will receive a combined total of $200,000, divided evenly among each group, to foster their novel research projects.
The CORNET-Clinical Awards are a mechanism for stimulating new research initiatives among UTHSC clinical faculty members (physicians, dentists, clinical psychologists, RNs, physical and occupational therapists, clinical pharmacists, etc.). While the main targets for this award were junior, new, or young investigators, established UTHSC faculty members, who were new to research or had plans to enter a new field of research, were also considered.
The awardees and their project titles are:
• “Investigation of miR-29 as a Novel Fetal Hemoglobin Inducer and Treatment for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease” – Athena S. Davenport, PhD, Patricia Adams-Graves, MD
• “Defining and Predicting Outcomes of Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection” – Maria Carrillo-Marquez, MD; James Lewis, PhD; Asim Choudri, MD; John DeVincenzo, MD; Heather Smallwood, PhD; Roozbeh Rezaie, PhD
• “Epigenomic Study of Short-Term Prescription Opioid Use” – Khyobeni Mozhui, PhD; Jeffrey H. Brooks, DMD
• “Role of LncRNA-MALAT1 in Colorectal Cancer Health Disparity” – Manish Tripathi, PhD; David Shibata, MD; Meena Jaggi, PhD
The CORNET-Clinical Awards aim to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary team research that crosses UTHSC’s college boundaries, giving rise to future external funding. The awards are designed to promote new lines of research.
“The CORNET-Clinical initiative is a four-sided and innovative effort that enhances the latent potential of clinicians to contribute significantly to the process of discovery research,” said Samuel Dagogo-Jack, MD, DM, MSc, FRCP, professor of Medicine-Endocrinology in the College of Medicine, director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and director of the Clinical Research Center at UTHSC. “UTHSC and its component colleges have hundreds of clinically trained faculty in medicine, surgery, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy and other allied disciplines, all of whom have the potential to become investigators.”
“All too often, these clinicians are saddled by patient-care workloads in a way that competes with the availability and bandwidth to initiate research projects,” said Dr. Dagogo-Jack. “By creating a CORNET Clinical Award mechanism, the UTHSC Office of Research provides a jump-start for clinicians willing and able to foray into research.”
Steven R. Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for Research at UTHSC, said, “We have been working hard to stimulate robust clinical research at UTHSC with a number of Initiatives, which include development of an enterprise data warehouse, creation of the Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee, establishment of a federated Clinical Trials Governance Board uniting efforts among Clinical Trials Offices throughout UTHSC, and beginning a Delta Consortium clinical and translational scientific award effort.”
“This mechanism will seed new ideas and collaborations,” Dr. Goodman said. “It is wonderful to see that the first CORNET-Clinical awardees will be addressing a broad range of health issues, including sickle cell disease, infectious diseases, opioid use, and cancer. I wish these teams the best as they launch these important collaborative research efforts.”