Xiaolu “Lulu” Cambronne awarded an NIH New Innovator Award

Lulu CambronneThe National Institutes of Health today awarded a highly competitive research grant to Xiaolu (Lulu) Cambronne, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the OHSU Vollum Institute. The grant, $1.5 million over five years, was given for Cambronne’s innovative approaches to addressing major challenges in biomedical research.

The grant is part of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards, established in 2007 to support early-career investigators who are conducting high-risk, high-impact research. Cambronne was one of 55 New Innovators awarded in 2017.

Cambronne will be looking at how changes in NAD availability might affect age-related pathologies. This is one of the biggest unknown mysteries in why age is a risk factor and, because NAD availability affects any disease in which age is a risk factor, her research has the potential to have very broad impacts in conditions ranging from neurodegenerative disorders to cardiovascular diseases and Type II diabetes.

Cambronne led a group to make a DNA-based fluorescent biosensor specific for free NAD, which allows the metabolite to be monitored. The research was reported in Science in June 2016. With these direct measurements of NAD, Cambronne and her group will address the current model and explore this hypothesis in both spatial and temporal resolution.

The research will not only generate knowledge about the metabolite but also determine, in a disease context, what the critical NAD concentration for health is and when and where this metabolite declines in a disease’s progress. More importantly, this will potentially provide information about intervention treatment and whether a particular treatment actually affects the metabolite availability.

OHSU receives NIH award to pioneer a national center for digital health innovation

OHSU has been awarded two grants totaling $62 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, to support the use of health data, algorithms and information systems to bridge basic science and clinical research.

The newly awarded grant provides OHSU with $25 million over five years to establish and lead the new National Center for Data to Health, or CD2H, in order to foster collaboration across more than 50 medical research institutions within the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network. OHSU’s CTSA, the Oregon Clinical and Translational Science Institute will be partnering with Dr. Haendel.

The CD2H will be led by Melissa Haendel, Ph.D., co-director of the NCATS-funded Biomedical Data Translator and the Monarch Initiative, and co-director of the OHSU Library; Kristi Holmes, Ph.D., Northwestern University; Sean Mooney, Ph.D., University of Washington; Christopher Chute, Dr.P.H., M.D., Johns Hopkins University; and John Wilbanks, Sage Bionetworks.

Read the full announcement on the OHSU News Hub.

The new CTSA Program National Center for Data to Health is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (grant U24TR002306).

The Biomedical Data Translator is funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (grant OT3TR002019OT3TR002019).

TB testing now available at new walk-in clinic

occupational-health-bannerOHSU employees who need TB testing prior to working with research animals can find the new walk-in clinic hours and location on the Occupational Health’s O2 page.

Upcoming class: RDA 101, Oct. 5th

Are you new to research at OHSU? Looking for guidance on how to navigate research administration?

At Research Administration Training & Education (RATE), we connect the research community with workplace learning. The RATE Program offers classes for research administrators as well as others who support research at OHSU, outlined in the research learning portal. RDA 101 is a great place to start whether you are new to OHSU Research or not.RATEClassroom1

RDA 101: Introduction to Research Administration
Thursday, Oct. 5
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Bancroft Building, Room 131

Join us as we take a big-picture look at Research Administration. Meet RDA unit leaders, discuss roles and responsibilities in research administration, and meet face to face with your contacts in the Office of Proposal and Award Management, the Institutional Review Board, Technology Transfer and Business Development, and others.

Use your network login to enroll through Compass. Questions? Contact RATE.

Innovators meet for the 2017 OHSU Commercialization Conference

Bill Ruh, chief executive officer at GE Digital and senior vice president and chief digital officer at GE.

Bill Ruh, chief executive officer at GE Digital and senior vice president and chief digital officer at GE delivers the keynote.

More than 250 scientists and entrepreneurs gathered last week at the OHSU Commercialization Conference, now in its fifth year. The takeaways? Disruptive innovation in science follows years of research that is carefully framed to address specific problems; business engagement can help move scientific discoveries to the patient; and OHSU’s structure that locates research outside the five schools creates special opportunities for transdisciplinary research, training, and education.

A thread running through the conference, hosted by OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development, was the relationship of disruptive innovation to biomedical research and health care. Keynote speaker Bill Ruh talked about some of the ways in which digital technology has revolutionized industries. Ruh, chief executive officer of GE Digital and senior vice president and chief digital officer of GE, estimates a 1 percent increase in efficiency in health care would lead to $63 billion savings over 15 years. That spans improvements in imaging systems to connecting hundreds of thousands of machines and shifting image post-processing from onsite to cloud-based analytic systems. When and how digital solutions can improve processes are important questions.

Disruptive change in the basic sciences
There are differences in how digital solutions can improve processes and health care delivery and what constitutes “disruptive” change in biomedical research. Trial, error, and failure are fundamental to the process of scientific discovery. Breakthrough innovations are often built on advances of previous knowledge and can take decades of what Brian Druker, M.D., called “wandering in the woods.” That was the case with immuno-oncology and the drug Gleevac, developed by Druker, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Druker, in the opening executive panel, said that in order to spend the necessary time on research for breakthroughs like Gleevac, broadening the funding portfolio is important to free up time for scientists to focus on basic research.

Funding research
Funding for biomedical research and development comes from a range of sources. There has been a transition in pharmaceutical companies’ internal R&D to external collaborations, which is a growing source of funding for scientists. Jay Parrish, Ph.D., M.B.A., a senior vice president at Vir Biotechnology was one of the panelists discussing how partnerships with investors can lead to successes. Vir Bio recently acquired a vaccine platform developed by scientists at the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.

When it comes to funding in the entrepreneurial space, industry experts on a panel addressing women in science and business discussed the persistent lack of funding for women. That could be for a number of reasons, but it is an issue panelists agreed needs to be taken seriously. Increasing the number of women scientist-entrepreneurs is not about men versus women, it is about bringing to the table the best of all perspectives.

In a panel on alternative funding for innovation and startup companies, the main takeaway was that “alternate funders” often have goals and values that allow them to support projects and take risks a venture firm cannot. For example, the research goal of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is to support the health of troops, veterans, and dependents. The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation’s purpose is to find a cure and improve patients’ lives.

Christine Lorenz, VP, Research & Clinical Collaborations, Molecular Imaging, Siemens, joined the panel on the role of molecular imaging in the era of personalized medicine.

Christine Lorenz, Ph.D., VP of research & clinical collaborations in molecular imaging at Siemens, joined the panel on molecular imaging in the era of personalized medicine.

Always — collaboration
Scientific discovery and commercialization rely on collaboration and cross-pollination to address specific problems in health care. OHSU research and educational enterprises span schools and research institutions to make this happen.

In the opening remarks, Provost Elena Andresen, Ph.D., highlighted programs in the Office of the Provost that span the university, including OHSU simulation and interprofessional education, that encourage collaboration across schools. Dan Dorsa, Ph.D., senior vice president of research, spoke about some of the recent significant innovations at the Vollum Institute, the Knight Cancer Institute, and the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, which just received a $37 million grant.

That grant will fund the support services OCTRI provides to the OHSU research enterprise and the commercialization process. The role of process, shared vision, and output were the focus of the keynote address by Gerry Langeler, M.B.A., from OVP Venture Partners.

John Hunter, M.D., F.A.C.S. provided the closing remarks. Hunter, the chief clinical officer at the OHSU School of Medicine, brought together the various threads of the conference. Innovation requires diverse and multidisciplinary teams – from the laboratories and along the way to commercialization — and digital innovations will propel health care in new and not always foreseen ways. OHSU, said Hunter, has a long history of scientific discovery that has moved from the bench to the bedside, and the next innovations are already being developed in laboratories across campus.


Read a wrap-up of the 2017 Commercialization Conference in the next Technology Transfer and Business Development newsletter.

In the Lab: Fran Biel

Fran BielWomen with disabilities face particular challenges during pregnancy and childbirth. There are scales and exam tables that may not accommodate them and that there is a lack of medical information in accessible form — and there is still little information about their experiences during pregnancy and childbirth. Research assistant Fran Biel works in Willi Horner-Johnson’s lab in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, where they are gathering new information that could improve the experiences of this population. Fran was a co-author on the lab’s recent publication on time trends in births and cesarean deliveries among women with disabilities.

Read the In the Lab interview with Biel on the internal OHSU Staff News blog.


The Staff News series In the Lab looks at the people in the laboratories who help make OHSU such a vibrant research institution.


Oral antibiotics after C-section may reduce infection risk for obese women

Amy ValentThe rate of obesity among U.S. women has been increasing, and obesity is associated with an increased risk of surgical-site infection following cesarean delivery. Research by Amy Valent, D.O., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine, and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati found that the rate of infection for women who received additional oral antibiotics after delivery was 6.4 percent. Women in the placebo group had a 15.4 percent rate of infection.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read the full story on the OHSU News Hub.

Got big data? Meet Research Data Storage

Research-Data-Storage-flyer-final (002)A flexible research storage platform created specifically to meet the diverse needs of the research community is now available through the OHSU Information Technology Group and the Advanced Computing Center.

Research Data Storage provides long-term, large-scale, secure storage housed at two physical locations that provide optimal data replication and redundancy. The platform is easy-to-access, robust and flexible.

The cost is $70 per terabyte per year and $140 per terabyte per year for replicated storage. There is a 10 terabyte minimum.

Research Data Storage is hosted on an Isilon storage appliance platform that provides data protection through hardware redundancy. The platform can be configured for geographic site replication of storage between both OHSU data center locations in the Portland area. In addition, storage shares can be configured with local file system snapshots to protect against data loss due to user error. This storage can be accessed from the Exacloud Research Computing Cluster and mounted securely from individual workstations.

For a consultation, email acc@ohsu.edu.

Collaborator of Mitalipov and Amato to speak on genome-wide target specificity of CRISPR base editors

director_jinsookimJin-Soo Kim, Ph.D., collaborated with Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., and Paula Amato, M.D., on the groundbreaking discovery recently reported in Nature — the successful removal of a lethal genetic defect in human embryos.

The discovery and widespread development of methods to edit the human genome is a truly revolutionary advance in biology.

Genome-wide target specificity of
CRISPR base editors
Oct. 3, noon to 1 p.m.
Richard Jones Hall, room 4340

Kim, professor and director at the Center for Genome Engineering, Seoul National University, will discuss the genome-wide target specificity of CRISPR nucleases and deaminases, or base editors.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Despite progress, health disparities remain among racial and ethnic minority groups post-ACA

2017_0911_heather_angier_midIn a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from OHSU and OCHIN report that community health centers in states that expanded Medicaid coverage experienced a decrease in uninsured visits and an increase in Medicaid-insured visits compared with non-expansion states. The research, published in the Annals of Family Medicine. also found that Hispanic patients have the highest rates of uninsured clinic visits, both before and after Affordable Care Act expansion.

Read the full story on
the OHSU News Hub.

Heather Angier, M.P.H., a senior research associate in family medicine at the School of Medicine, was lead author on the paper, published in the Annals of Family Medicine. OHSU co-authors include Jennifer DeVoe, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine, and assistant professors of family medicine Miguel Marino, Ph.D., Nathalie Huguet, Ph.D. and John Heintzman, M.D., M.P.H.

This work was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (R01HS024270), the National Cancer Institute (R01CA204267 and R01CA181452) and Cooperative Agreement (U18DP006116 jointly funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute).

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Welcome to the Research News Blog

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