What’s new with NIH peer review? Nov. 3 and 10

You’re invited to hear a panel discussion with OHSU faculty who are currently serving on NIH study sections to learn about best practices for grant writing–and especially what they’re seeing in grants they’re reviewing with respect to the new requirements on rigor and reproducibility and more. Among other things, they will discuss guidance they’ve received from NIH as reviewers, as well as how study sections are responding. Bring your questions!

Two panel sessions will be held:csr-logo

Thursday, Nov. 3
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

OHSU Auditorium


Thursday, Nov. 10
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Mackenzie Hall 1162

Questions? Contact us at funding@ohsu.edu.

NINDS restructures funding support for postdocs

PrintThe National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke will no longer participate in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Parent F32). As of the Dec. 8, 2016 due date, F32 postdoctoral fellows research training support will be available through a separate announcement with several key differences from the parent F32. Most notably, applicants are only eligible prior to starting, or within the first 12 months of starting, their postdoctoral training. As such, no preliminary data are expected.

The NINDS F32 will support postdocs who are in their first three years of training in their sponsor’s lab. NINDS anticipates releasing a K01 announcement in time for the Feb. 12, 2017 initial receipt date that will allow applicants in their second through fourth year of training to apply.

Additionally, a webinar will be held on Dec. 13, 2016 from 3 – 4:00p.m. EST to walk potential applicants and mentors through the process of applying for the Diversity Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award (K22). Hear from K22 awardees and reviewers about common mistakes and helpful tips.

Jan. 1: New F&A rates for non-clinical, industry-sponsored research

OHSU’s Facilities and Administrative rate for industry-sponsored research agreements will increase by 3%, effective January 1, 2017. The new rate will not apply to industry-sponsored clinical trials, federal awards such as SBIR/STTR awards, or ONPRC industry-sponsored agreements, but it will apply to all other industry-sponsored agreements entered into by Technology Transfer and Business Development on or after January 1, 2017. All currently funded projects will remain fixed at their awarded rate unless additional funding is added after January 1, 2017.

Beginning immediately, you should use the new rates to prepare proposal budgets for projects starting on or after January 1. Please contact your department administrator for questions with developing budgets using the new rates.

This is the first F&A rate increase for non-clinical industry-sponsored research agreements at OHSU since 2010. The change brings OHSU’s rate close to the average rate of the top 50 NIH grant recipients. The rate for externally sponsored research at OHSU will increase to 57% and other sponsored activity will increase to 35%. Rates for clinical projects will not change.

Technology Transfer and Business Development awards

Four OHSU researchers were honored at OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development’s 11th award ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The event is held each year to honor members of the OHSU research community, recognize new companies based on OHSU technology, and celebrate TTBD’s numerous milestones and accomplishments.

Sudarshan Anand, Ph.D.

Sudarshan Anand, Ph.D.

Sudarshan Anand, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell and developmental biology, was recognized as New Inventor of the Year for his work with TTBD Understanding the role of microRNAs in cancer blood vessels and their response to DNA damaging agents is the major focus of Anand’s lab.

Matthew Hansen, M.D., M.C.R.

Matthew Hansen, M.D., M.C.R.

The Business Development Partnership Achievement Award was presented to Matthew Hansen, M.D., M.C.R.and David Sheridan, M.D., both assistant professors of pediatric emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The two have been instrumental in the success of OHSU’s partnership with Welch Allyn, Inc.

David Sheridan, M.D.

David Sheridan, M.D.

The Technology Transfer Achievement Award was presented to David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., Peterson Professor of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering at the OHSU School of Medicine and the Casey Eye Institute. He was honored for his long-term work with TTBD and co-invention of optical coherence tomography.

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D.

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D.

The OHSU Clinical Trials Office Contracting Unit was recognized with the TTBD Appreciation Award for its ongoing collaboration with TTBD.

TTBD acknowledged new companies based on OHSU technology: CORI2, Inc., First Ascent Biomedical LLC, Project Lite, Inc., Qview Health, Inc., Regenavid, Inc., and SurgiVance, Inc.

The milestones and accomplishments celebrated by TTBD included the launch of the Improved Access to Technology (IMPACT) program and nearly $16 million in nonclinical industry-sponsored research awards.

Kristen Baptiste, J.D., Jenny Mair, J.D., Tara McKenzie, J.D., Jacqueline Brown, J.D., Colin Murphy, J.D., Emily Purdin

Kristen Baptiste, J.D., Jenny Mair, J.D., Tara McKenzie, J.D., Jacqueline Brown, J.D., Colin Murphy, J.D., Emily Purdin

Read the OHSU news release for more about the TTBD ceremony, the four faculty honorees, the new companies based on OHSU technology, and TTBD’s milestones and successes in 2016.

New federal policies issued on clinical trials

The NIH is the largest funder of clinical trials in the U.S., investing over $3 billion each year. Standards for scientific rigor and ethical oversight must be exceptionally high because the health and safety of human subjects are at stake. But challenges in the design, efficiency, and reporting of clinical trials are well documented–and may even threaten the progress of biomedicine.

Clinical trials journey and NIH stewardship reforms Taken from Sept. 16 NIH Extramural Nexus blog post

Clinical trials journey and NIH stewardship reforms. From Sept. 16 NIH Extramural Nexus.

In a recent JAMA article,  Kathy Hudson, Ph.D., deputy director for Science, Outreach and Policy at NIH, Michael Lauer, M.D., deputy director for extramural research, and NIH Director Francis Collins describe several new initiatives for improving clinical trials. Their aim is to catalyze more innovative and robust trial design and accelerated access to discoveries. Several new policies are being rolled out to this end.

1. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a new regulation and the National Institutes of Health rolled out a new policy to increase availability of information about clinical trials. The DHHS regulation, known as The Final Rule, implements existing FDA requirements to register and report clinical trials on ClinicalTrials.gov. The NIH policy complements The Final Rule and applies to all clinical trials funded by NIH, regardless of whether they are subject to the regulation. Both the NIH policy and the Final Rule will take effect Jan. 18, 2017. Here are some resources to help you better understand the changes:

2. A new NIH policy requires all applications involving clinical trials be submitted through a Funding Opportunity Announcement specifically designed for clinical trials. NIH will no longer accept applications through parent FOAs or other announcements not specific to clinical trials. The aim is to ensure that key trial protocol information will be included in a standard way across clinical trial applications. The target effective date for this policy is Sept. 27, 2017.

3. A policy issued in June, 2016 requires use of a single institutional review board for multi-site studies in order to streamline and expedite IRB review. The first applications that will incorporate the new requirements will be for those with due dates of May 25, 2017. Resources are still under development – stay tuned for more information and guidance.

4. A policy that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017 requires all NIH-funded investigators and clinical trial staff who are responsible for the conduct, management and oversight of NIH-funded clinical trials to be trained in Good Clinical Practice. GCP  training includes the Principles of the International Conference on Harmonisation and can be achieved through a class, academic training program, or certification from a recognized clinical research professional organization. The good news for OHSU investigators is that OHSU’s Responsible Conduct of Research training through the CITI program qualifies under this new policy.

5. A clinical trial protocol template is being developed with input from the research community. An updated template should be released this fall to be used as a way to organize and standardize key details that should be included in clinical trial protocols.


Inaugural Art of Neuroscience competition accepting submissions

The inaugural “Art of Neuroscience” competition is now accepting entries. All OHSU staff, faculty, and students/trainees are invited to submit an original image that explores the aesthetics of brain and mind as a broad topic.

Voting will be open to OHSU staff, faculty, and students/trainees from November 7 through November 16. A special category and prize are designated for high school students. Prizes for First Place, Honorable Mention, and First Place in the high school category will be awarded at the OHSU Brain Institute Annual Forum on Friday, November 18.

Submission requirements:

  • Format: JPEG
  • Include the title of image, description of image (<100 words), artist’s name, and department or school
  • Deadline: Monday, October 31

Submit images to stoutk@ohsu.edu.

Reminder: Applications for University Shared Resources pilot funding due Friday, Oct. 7

This is the final week to submit your applications for the OHSU University Shared Resources Core Pilot Awards program. These awards support OHSU faculty and USR cores by providing pilot funding for principal investigators, especially to support generation of data for new grant applications, as well as to support core development.

Applications must be filled out online through OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal (CAP). Full RFA is provided on CAP and can also be found here.

Please note: Applicants must consult with the director of the designated core prior to application submission. An email from the core director(s) acknowledging a consultation must be received by USR Program Director Andy Chitty before applications can be moved forward for review. Applications are due Oct. 7, 2016, and awards will be announced in late fall.


Groundbreaking study opens door for treating congenital disease before birth

Congenital diseases account for nearly a quarter of perinatal deaths and are important causes of childhood illness and long-term disability. Prenatal screening techniques now make early diagnosis possible, presenting the opportunity to intervene in disease processes before birth. The rapid proliferation of stem cells in the fetus and its immature immune system make in utero gene therapy an attractive target for gene therapy, but ethical considerations and the consequences of disrupting fetal development have so far prohibited human trials.

A breakthrough study by a team of researchers at OHSU and collaborators suggests it may be possible to deliver prenatal gene therapy safely and efficiently in the womb, using the amniotic cavity as a drug reservoir. The study, published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research on Sept. 28, opens the door to potential therapeutic treatments.

The team used a mouse model to determine whether antisense oligonucleotides (ASO), synthetic molecules engineered to target and alter RNA sequences, could be delivered to the amniotic cavity to target gene expression in utero.

A well-characterized ASO was injected into the amniotic fluid and successfully altered expression of a targeted RNA transcript in the liver, kidney, and inner ear of postnatal mice for up to four weeks after birth. The treatment was well tolerated, with 94% of injected mice surviving. The team successfully demonstrated the general ability of ASOs to deliver gene therapy by testing a second ASO.

Further investigation is needed to better understand ASO transport in order to maximize fetal uptake and broaden distribution, but this work establishes that the amniotic cavity has the necessary characteristics to serve as an efficient reservoir for sustained ASO delivery to the developing fetus.

Authors included Lingyan Wang, Ph.D., Han Jiang, Ph.D., and John Brigande, Ph.D., of OHSU’s Oregon Hearing Research Center; Frederic F. Depreux, Ph.D., Francine M. Jodelka, Ph.D. and Michelle L. Hastings, Ph.D., with the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago; Frank Rigo, Ph.D., of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in Carlsbad, California; and Robert F. Rosencrans, Ph.D., and Jennifer J. Lentz, Ph.D., with the Neuroscience Center and Department of Otorhinolaryngology, LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health [R01-DC012596 to M.L.H., R21-DC012916 to J.V.B., R01-DC014160 to J.V.B., P30-DC005983 to J.V.B., 1 U54 GM104940 to J.J.L., P30-GM103340 to J.J.L.]; and Foundation Fighting Blindness (to J.J.L., M.L.H.)

Applying for foundation funding? Check out the President’s List!

Just a friendly reminder that if you plan to submit a grant to a foundation or corporation on the OHSU President’s List, you are required to submit a Notice of Intent form to the OHSU Foundation. The purpose of the President’s List is to ensure that OHSU maintains coordinated communication with these organizations. Additionally, some organizations are reserved for top institutional priorities as determined by senior OHSU leadership.

Things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re interested in applying to one of these organizations, please submit a Notice of Intent form. The Notice of Intent Form is only required for organizations on the list.
  • If Office of Proposal & Award Management needs to contact one of these organizations or receives communications from them, please let someone on the Office of Foundation Relations team know.
  • The OHSU President’s List is updated about once a year.

Questions? Contact the OHSU Foundation.

Who’s new at OHSU? Sivaraman Prakasam

Sivaraman Prakasam, B.D.S., M.S.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Periodontology, OHSU School of Dentistry. In addition to his research program, Prakasam is a clinical educator and a practicing clinician, limiting his practice to periodontics and dental implant placement.


Prakasam and family

Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in India. I got my dental degree there – a B.D.S. as it’s known in India – and as soon as I was done with that, I knew I wanted to pursue research. I went to the Stony Brook University in New York for my Ph.D. and was fortunate to work under the mentorship of Dr. Chris Cutler an innate immunologist and periodontist. This helped shape the direction of my research career. Though I knew I wanted to do research, I found I missed the clinical side of things while I was completing my Ph.D., so I decided to go back and pursue advanced clinical training. I went to Indiana University School of Dentistry and did my periodontal residency for my specialty training. I stayed as a clinical faculty member for another four years. This was sort of an unofficial postdoc. Because of the projects I developed there, I was then able to apply for a position here at OHSU, which is also part research, part clinical. Though there are similarities, I find I have access to a lot more resources here.

What’s the focus of your research?
Understanding periodontal disease. The pervading thought on what this disease is that the biofilm or tooth plaque is the primary etiology and that some people are more susceptible to developing a response to it. Also, there are certain bacteria that are commonly associated with disease process. So, one of the things I worked on as a clinical professor at Indiana was salivary diagnostics. I was able to incorporate the focus of my Ph.D. work – innate immunology – but in terms of translational research. The goal was to try and identify salivary markers that we see in periodontal disease. In developing that project, I came across something called Peptidoglycan recognition proteins, a group of innate immune receptors. It’s unique in the sense it’s a secreted receptor that does two things: kill bacteria and modulate inflammation. Up to now, I’ve been studying this receptor mostly in mice models. But my goal is to understand the relevance of this molecule in terms of human diseases, particularly inflammatory diseases like gum disease. In addition to figuring out what role the receptor plays in periodontal disease, I want to see if it can be used as a biomarker for identifying disease.

Another avenue I’m exploring is that this receptor may have a role to play in other systemic diseases. One of the emerging concepts is that oral disease may be a risk factor or causative agent for distant diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There are varied hypotheses about the connection between oral health and say, cardiovascular disease. The controversy lies in causality. Are these people who have poor gum health alongside cardiovascular disease, generally prone to reduced immunity or hyper inflammation? Or is it the type or amount of oral bacteria itself that’s the cause?periodontal-disease

The cause may, in fact, be direct. There is a large build-up of bacteria when people don’t brush regularly so that when they do brush or have dental work done like a tooth extraction, this can cause the abnormal levels of bacteria to enter the circulation system, which can eventually precipitate changes in the cardiovascular system. Studies have identified traces of these bacteria in atherosclerotic plaque. These are dead oral bacteria that are not supposed to be in the heart but are often found in people who die of cardiovascular disease. These bacteria have also been found in dead fetuses in certain cases of pregnancy that don’t go to term. So, investigators are trying to establish the connection, and one of my goals is to find out if this receptor could be the link. There is some proteomic data that suggest this molecule may be relevant in various systemic inflammatory diseases.

So this is my primary focus of my research, but I also do a lot of small projects. One of them is my work with a collaborator in Iowa – we do a lot of data mining of a health insurance data base, trying to find links between oral diseases and systemic diseases. We’ve published a few papers published from this line of research. I’m also interested in safety. When I was in Indiana, inspired by Atul Gawande’s pioneering work on WHO Surgical Safety checklist, we developed a safety checklist for implant placement, and that’s been published. Though this is not my main research focus, I feel it’s very important work. Most states have very lax laws in terms of who gets to perform what types of procedures. In the case of dental implant placement, a dentist who has taken minimal training (two to three weeks) may be allowed do the same procedure as someone who’s had two or three years’ worth of training. Developing safety protocols is one way to protect the patient and guide inexperienced practitioners.

What do you do when you’re not at work?
I read a lot of books, mostly non-fiction, about self-improvement, leadership, and communication. But mostly I spend time with my family. My wife is at home now with our son who’s two and a half, and she’s also an aspiring pastry chef. Trying not to eat pastries keeps me plenty busy!

Welcome to the Research News Blog

Welcome to the Research News Blog

OHSU Research News is your portal to information about all things research at Oregon Health & Science University. Visit often for updates on events, discoveries, and important funding information.

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