TTUHSC El Paso Faculty Awarded Seed Grants

Four faculty members in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine have been awarded a total of $103,000 in institutional funds to jump-start their innovative research ideas during the 2017-18 academic year.

The faculty members, selected by the Office of the Vice President for Research, were chosen from a highly competitive group of 13 applicants. The awardees and their corresponding projects are:

Munmun Chattopadhyay, Ph.D.

Department of Biomedical Sciences

“Role of Histone Deacetylases in Nerve Injury and Pain”

Suzanne Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Department of Biomedical Sciences

“Relationship Between Nuclear and Mitochondrial Genomes and Neurocognitive Impairment in Bipolar Disorder”

Ricardo Salazar, M.D.

Department of Psychiatry

“Neuroanatomical Correlates of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Hispanics with Alzheimer’s Disease”

Wendy Walker, Ph.D.

Department of Biomedical Sciences

“Changes in Peritoneal Macrophage Composition and Function in Sepsis”

The goal of this program, according to Vice President for Research Peter Rotwein, M.D., is to provide 12 months of funding for the most meritorious projects at their earliest stages of development, so that the faculty investigators may develop critical preliminary data to make their ideas competitive for national-level research grants.

“We are looking to make the best investments in our faculty at the start of a project to help them become successful in growing their research programs,” Dr. Rotwein said. “We anticipate that each seed grant will leverage a new idea into the ‘proof-of-principle’ data necessary for a future externally-funded grant.”

Since 2013, the TTUHSC El Paso Seed Grant Program has invested over $650,000 in TTUHSC El Paso faculty research.

The most recent successful outcome of these kick-starter grants has been a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21). Infectious disease researchers Anjali Joshi, Ph.D., and Himanshu Garg, Ph.D., who received a TTUHSC El Paso seed grant in 2016, were awarded a two-year $420,000 grant earlier this year for their work on the Zika virus.