Under-Represented Minority Postdoc Recruitment Day, Apr. 14-16

OHSU is accepting applications for the first URM postdoc recruitment day travel fellowship, which provides travel and all associated costs of a visit to OHSU April 14-16. We are seeking candidates who are considered under-represented in biomedical science according to NIH and who may be considering a postdoctoral appointment at OHSU.

Participants will be introduced to areas of scientific strength at OHSU, meet with potential mentors and future colleagues, and receive information about on-campus activities and life in the greater Portland area. This program is a direct result of the importance that OHSU places on increasing the diversity of its scientists at all ranks.

Candidates may apply to the program now through Feb. 1, 2016. Applications must include a statement of interest naming at least one potential mentor, as well as a biosketch and a letter of recommendation from your current mentor. Successful candidates will be eligible for positions on several NIH-sponsored training grants as well as the OHSU Fellowship in Diversity and Inclusion. This program is for postdocs who are T-32 eligible: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Applications are due February 1, 2016 and must be submitted via the Competition Application Portal (CAP). Questions? Write ofdir@ohsu.edu.

Graduate student funding opportunity

icd logoThe Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) is inviting graduate students pursuing either a master’s or doctoral degree in Portland, Oregon to submit research proposals in topic areas related to chronic disorganization.

Each year at ICD’s educational conference, grants are awarded to students in support of local university student projects. Grants will be offered to three student projects: two grants of approximately $500 each; one grant of $1000.

All grantees must commit to participate in a panel presentation at which they present findings during the 2016 ICD Conference to be held in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 22-24, 2016.

Click here for proposal submission guidelines. Proposals must be submitted by Monday, Feb. 15 Feb. 29 to grants@challengingdisorganization.org. Winners are notified in late April/early May.

Questions? Contact Kathie England at kathie@timeforsuccess.net.

Doernbecher scientists define first link between lead exposure and ADHD

Researchers at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have defined for the first time a causal link between blood lead exposure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in humans. While previous studies have associated lead blood levels with ADHD, research published in Psychological Science is the first to confirm previous hypotheses that exposure to lead in miniscule amounts typical in the U.S., or less than 10 parts per billion, increases symptoms in some individuals with ADHD. The paper “Variation in iron metabolism gene moderates the association between low-level blood lead exposure and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” is a collaboration among researchers at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Michigan State University and the University of Iowa.

Joel Nigg, Ph.D., principal investigator; director, OHSU ADHD & Attention Research Program; director, Division of Psychology, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital; and professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, OHSU School of Medicine, said the findings bridge genetic and environmental factors, helping illustrate one possible route to ADHD. The research also demonstrates that conditions like ADHD can be prevented.

To conduct this research, Nigg and colleagues evaluated lead blood level in 386 healthy children aged 6 to 17. Half of the children had been carefully diagnosed with ADHD. All children were within the safe lead exposure range as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the blood lead level in the sample was typical of the national U.S. population of children. The study also found that lead effects were more robust in males, which is consistent with previous research specific to neurodevelopmental conditions and gender. Children without HFE C282Y mutations showed amplified symptoms as lead exposure increased, but not as consistently.

The scientists do not purport that lead is the only cause of ADHD symptoms, nor does the research indicate that lead exposure will guarantee an ADHD diagnosis; rather, the study demonstrates that environmental pollutants, such as lead, do play a role in the explanation of ADHD. Despite U.S. government regulations that drastically reduced environmental exposure to lead, the neurotoxin is still found in common objects such as children’s toys and costume jewelry. It also continues to be ingested in small amounts via water from aging pipes, as well as contaminated soil and dust. At very high levels, lead poisoning may result in seizures, coma or even death. However, long term, lower-level exposures are a more common health threat, particularly in children.

Read the full news release here.



OCTRI announces 2016 Biomedical Innovation Program award recipients

The Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) is pleased to announce the funding of three research awards through its Biomedical Innovation Program. The BIP aims to cultivate, select and provide strong program management for promising translational projects that develop new biomedical devices, diagnostics, and software. The primary objective of the BIP is to facilitate development of innovative technologies from academia to the marketplace, and thus to make a meaningful impact on human health.

The Biomedical Innovation Program is a collaboration between OCTRI and OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development (TTBD). It is supported by major funding from OCTRI, and institutional support from OHSU, with additional support from Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI).

Congratulations to our 2016 Biomedical Innovation Pilot Award winners:

Fergus Coakley 1Fergus Coakley, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Diagnostic Radiology

Novel targeted MRI-guided prostate biopsy device







DolanJames Dolan, M.D., M.C.R., F.A.C.S., associate professor of surgery

An improved enternal access device for surgical patients







Ted Hobbs 1Theodore Hobbs, D.V.M., M.C.R., surgery unit head, Oregon National Primate Research Center

Blood volume determination using an intravenous optical fiber






“The Biomedical Innovation Program meets a critical need at OHSU by funding promising early stage and potentially marketable technologies,” said OCTRI Director David Ellison, M.D. “This funding, along with project management and mentorship, helps move the needle substantially, to put these technologies in the best possible position for commercialization where they can ultimately improve patient outcomes. We are very excited to fund these new technologies for 2016, and look forward to working closely with the investigators.”

Detailed information on all three awards, including project abstracts is provided on the OCTRI website.

For more information on OCTRI’s resource services, please visit www.octri.org. OCTRI is supported by (UL1TR000128) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Researchers discuss out-of-hospital births in NEJM online forum starting Jan. 6

The NEJM Group Open Forum, a live, online discussion intended to generate conversation around important (and sometimes controversial) ideas, will feature a trio of OHSU researchers for the next 10 days.

Jonathan Snowden, Ph.D., Aaron Caughey, M.D., Ph.D., and Ellen Tilden, Ph.D., C.N.M., whose article about out-of-hospital births and birth outcomes is at the center of the current forum, will each log in daily to respond to comments and questions asked by the online community. See what others are saying and participate in the conversation here.

New fellowship opportunity for senior graduate students doing cancer research

The National Cancer Institute is seeking applications for the Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00). This award is intended to facilitate the transition of talented graduate students to successful cancer research postdoctoral appointments and provide opportunities for career development activities relevant to their long-term career goals of becoming independent cancer researchers.

Award amounts and funding periods: NCI intends to commit $1.4M in FY 2016 to fund up to 30 awards. For the F99 phase, award budgets are composed of stipends, tuition and fees, and institutional allowance. For the K00 phase, award budgets are composed of salaries and fringe benefits, tuition and fees, research and career development support, and indirect costs. NCI will contribute up to $50,000 in the first year toward the salary of the career award recipient. This will be increased to $53,300 for the second year, to $56,600 for the third year, and to $59,900 for a fourth year. For the F99/K00 award, individuals may receive up to 6 years combined support for both phases, which includes up to 2 years in the F99 fellowship phase and up to 4 years in the K00 career development phase.

Please note: This is a limited submission opportunity. OHSU may submit only one application so internal coordination is required. See OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal for submission instructions. Deadlines are as follows:
Internal:                  January 13th
Letters of Intent:  January 19th
Applications:         February 19th

TTBD Industry Spotlight: CORI software and Due North Innovation

Of the millions of colonoscopies and endoscopic procedures performed in the U.S., there is very little information on the cause and result of the procedures once they are performed. To figure out which patient is likely to experience side effects from the procedure, David Lieberman, M.D., head of OHSU’s Division of Gastroenterology, led the initiative in 1994 to create a national endoscopic database repository to learn more about patients receiving gastrointestinal procedures. With help from Cynthia Morris, Ph.D., vice chair, and Judy Logan, M.D., associate professor, both in the OHSU Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology department, they spent several years creating the Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative (CORI) software with the intent of studying gastrointestinal endoscopies, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, and colonoscopies more closely.

The CORI software serves as an easy-to-use specialty electronic health record system for clinicians to learn more about their patients to help screen, diagnose, and treat patients with gastrointestinal diseases. Information that can be found in this software can include the patient’s medical history, the cause and result of present and past gastrointestinal procedures, information about the clinical site, and so on. As this software includes additional information that standard electronic health records omit, it serves as an important tool for clinicians to diagnose and treat their patients, ultimately improving patient care. The CORI software has received major funding from the NIH (U01 DK057132) through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases since 1999 to support this work.

The CORI endoscopic reporting software has been distributed to a wide array of participating clinical sites ranging from government facilities, academic centers, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and to small specialty and private practices. The data entered into this software can be formatted into reports that serve as valuable tools and are able to feed into each clinical site’s internal electronic health record database. Data from all aspects of the procedure can be logged and queried at the site level; data points such as findings, pre-procedure practices, length of procedure, and resulting pathology reports can all be entered into the CORI database.

Though after 20 years of effort, the CORI research initiative began to wind down when Logan announced her plans to retire and cease seeking continued grant funding. Determined to keep the CORI software in operation and recognizing the need for ongoing technical support to allow for that to happen, Lieberman and Logan contacted Arvin Paranjpe, a senior technology development manger handling the technology’s intellectual property, to explore other options for the CORI software. Together, they strategized a new path forward and determined the need to move CORI from a research-based initiative to a commercially viable product.

Through successful negotiations with a Portland-based technology advancement firm, Due North Innovation, a license was forged to create a commercial product and company called CORI2. In addition to managing the user support and software system maintenance, the team at CORI2 is enhancing the features and functionality of the software to create a more robust system to fully address current user needs. The CORI2 software currently serves over 70 academic institutions, hospitals, and clinics in the United States.

LOIs for Circle of Giving funding due Friday, Jan. 8

This is a reminder to submit your letters of intent for the following funding opportunity: The OHSU Center for Women’s Health Circle of Giving is now accepting submissions for its 2016 Women’s Health Research Funding Opportunity. Prior to submitting an application, a letter of intent is first required. The letter of intent is due Jan. 8, 2016, and the application is due Jan. 22, 2016. Circle of Giving funding is intended to support new or established investigators interested in developing innovative directions in women’s health research.

Applications will be accepted from faculty at the rank of lecturer, assistant, associate, or full professor. Applications may be in basic science, clinical investigation, population health, or behavioral research. The pilot project conducted using these seed funds is expected to lead to additional research funded by federal and non-federal sources. The proposed research must be intended to produce a tangible improvement in women’s health.

The Circle expects to award $125,000 to support one project for one year. There may be opportunity for a second award this year.

Please view the full RFP for additional information. Applications must be submitted via OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal (CAP).

Timing of proposal submissions may influence success rates

Does the thought of writing your grant proposal leave you standing in a puddle of procrastination? Is a looming deadline the only thing that can force you to put pen to paper? New data from NIH on success rates of proposals submitted long before the deadline vs. those that come in just under the wire may motivate you to resist task avoidance and get those grants in early.

In a Dec. 30, Open Mike blog post, NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research Michael Lauer discusses the advantages, however slight, of submitting grant applications before the due date.  He examined the most recent submission data of two funding mechanisms – an R01 and a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). In the case of the R01, 57 percent of applications came through the day before the deadline; an additional 43 percent of the total came in on the due date. Even among the applications received before the deadline, the vast majority came in the week before. What were the outcomes for these two groups of submissions? The applications received on the due date were less likely to be discussed yet similarly likely to be awarded from the pool of those that were discussed.

As for the SBIR applications, 49 percent were received prior to the deadline, and 51 percent came in on the due date. Again, the majority of “early” applications came in the last week before the due date. As with the R01, a greater percentage of applications that came in before the deadline were discussed. See the full blog post for charts and tables.

These findings show that for both mechanisms, last-day applications were less likely to make it to the discussion phase and therefore less likely to be awarded. In other words, don’t put off today what can be done tomorrow because it may cost you.

Still worried about your tendency to procrastinate? Here are few suggestions from a seasoned grant writer for keeping yourself on track.

OHSU study sheds light on risks of giving birth in and out of a hospital setting

The out-of-hospital birth rate in Oregon is the highest of any state (4%) and nationally, more and more women are choosing to give birth at home. This national trend has drawn increased attention to an ongoing debate over whether it’s safe to give birth in an out-of-hospital setting. A new study published the Dec. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by OHSU researchers provides detailed answers to shed light on the issue.

The researchers collected data on nearly 8,000 pregnancies in Oregon in 2012 and 2013, comparing low-risk pregnancies only and examining birth certificates for information about where the mothers intended to give birth. Results showed that while overall perinatal mortality rates were low, planned out-of-hospital deliveries were 2.4 times more likely to result in the death of the baby either during the birth or in the first month of life. Out-of-hospital births were also associated with increased risk for neonatal seizures, the need to ventilate the baby, and the need for blood transfusion for the mother.  However, the study also showed cesarean rates are significantly higher (roughly 20%) for planned in-hospital births compared to planned out-of-hospital births which can result in complications and slower healing times for the mother. In-hospital-births were also associated with increased rates of additional obstetric interventions such as labor induction.

These findings indicate that while the overall risk for perinatal death is low in all settings, the stakes are high and women need to be better informed about the potential risks and trade-offs of birth setting preferences. The study’s authors make the case for better integrated maternity care systems where midwives can serve as primary care providers for healthy women, developing guidelines for determining which women are good candidates for home birth, and planning for a transfer system so women can be quickly and easily transported to the hospital if needed.

Given the nature of this debate, it’s not surprising that this study is receiving a lot of media attention. Read about what the New York Times and NPR have to say how these results may change the dialogue. For more detailed information on the study and researchers, read the press release here.

The OHSU research team that conducted the study included the following:

  • Jonathan M. Snowden, Ph.D., epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine and lead author of the study
  • Aaron B. Caughey, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair in the OHSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, associate dean for Women’s Health Research and Policy in the OHSU School of Medicine
  • Ellen Tilden, Ph.D., C.N.M., assistant professor at OHSU School of Nursing
  • Janice Snyder, R.N. of OHSU

This study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health, grant # K99 HD079658-01

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