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Virginia Tech Carilion launches five new research projects


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 5, 2009 – The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute has awarded five $30,000 seed grants to support collaborative research between Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic researchers on medical challenges that include heart care, cancer, infectious disease, obesity, and technology.

"As the Virginia Tech Carilion enterprise grows, these joint efforts will become very important to the success of our educational and research efforts," said Tom Campbell, assistant director for research and operations for the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

"This is a great time to support the Virginia Tech Carilion partnership," said Daniel Harrington M.D., vice president for academic affairs for Carilion Clinic and associate dean for clinic and regional integration for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Carilion Clinic also provides Research Acceleration Project grants and Harrington reports there have been several where Virginia Tech faculty members were partners. "We are starting to see increased interest and activity, with both Carilion physicians and Virginia Tech researchers seeing value in the Virginia Tech Carilion enterprise," said Harrington.

The projects and research teams are

  • "Back to the Future: Using the mouse to model the molecules and physiological impacts of medical supervised water-only fasting in hypertensive, obese adults," Deborah Good, associate professor of human nutrition, food, and exercise in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Roderick Jensen, professor of biological sciences at Virginia Tech; and Richard Seidel, director of research and education at Carilion Clinic.
  • "Screening for, and intervening to, reduce cardiovascular and material obstetrical care risk during pregnancy," Paul Estabrooks, human nutrition, food, and exercise associate professor at Virginia Tech, and L. Wayne Hess M.D., OB/GYN department chair at Carilion Clinic.
  • "Characterization of Early Defects in Immunosurveillance Mechanisms during Ovarian Cancer Progression," P. Chris Roberts, associate professor of biomedical sciences and pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; Eva Schmelz, human nutrition, food, and exercise associate professor at Virginia Tech; and Dennis Scribner M.D, gynecological oncology section chief, Carilion Clinic.
  • "Development of nanoscale optical fiber biosensor assays to detect and differentiate Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus (MRSA)," Thomas Inzana, the Tyler J. and Frances F. Young Chair of Bacteriology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; Tom Kerkering M.D, infectious disease section chief, Carilion Clinic; J.R. Heflin, professor of physics in the College of Science, Virginia Tech; and A.B. Bandara, research assistant professor of biomedical sciences and pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • "Applying and Validating Sophisticated Industrial Technology to Improve Healthcare Quality in the ER," Tony Slonim M.D., vice president of medical affairs, Carilion Clinic; and Ebru Bish, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

During the recent round of funding 14 projects were submitted for consideration.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute comprise a unique partnership to establish a new generation of health care professionals and leaders in their chosen fields. Originating from the Carilion Clinic, one of Virginia's largest health care providers, and Virginia Tech, the commonwealth's leading research university, the school and institute will occupy the nexus of modern results-driven medical training with applications-oriented research.