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Polly Bijur

Pain Gain — A team led by Dr. Polly Bijur has been awarded $1.2 million over three years from the NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research, to evaluate pain management in the emergency department. Their study will determine the safety and efficacy of an innovative system in which patients are permitted to administer their own pain treatments. Successful implementation of this system could improve both emergency department productivity and patient outcomes. Dr. Bijur is professor of epidemiology & population health, of emergency medicine and of pediatrics.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Structure-Function Funding  Dr. Thaddeus Bargiello has received a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences totaling $1.2 million over four years to support his study of the neurological disorder X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, as well as mutations that cause nonsyndromic and syndromic deafness. The mutations of interst to Dr. Bargiello occur in proteins called connexin channels, which are responsible for communication between cells.  The goal of his research is to understand how these disease-causing mutations effect the structure and assembly of the connexin channels and to identify targets for the development of treatments for these diseases.  Dr. Bargiello is a professor of neuroscience.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Heady Influence — What is the function and disease relevance of the adult neural stem cells found in the mouse hypothalamus? In a study published in October 2012 in Nature Cell Biology, Einstein researchers led by Dr. Dongsheng Cai showed that these stem cells help to centrally regulate metabolic physiology and that their dysregulation resulted in weight and glucose disorders that can cause type 2 diabetes. The researchers put mice on a long-term high-fat diet and observed that levels of hypothalamic neural stem cells became drastically depleted and that the neuronal differentiation of the stem cells was severely impaired. They found that the high fat diet’s neurodegenerative action was caused by activation of the proinflammatory pathway involving IκB kinase B (IKKB) and the downstream nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), leading to obesity and pre-diabetes. Dr. Cai is professor of molecular pharmacology. Other Einstein authors on the paper were Juxue Li and Yizhe Tang.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 
Joel Friedman

Reducing Complications — The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has awarded Einstein researchers led by Dr. Joel Friedman $10.8 million, to carry out a five-year multi-institutional study of hemoglobin toxicity that may complicate blood transfusions and reduce the effectiveness of blood substitutes. Long-term goals of the research include making blood transfusions safer and more effective, and better matching patients with the transfusion strategy best suited to them. The research funded through this grant is especially important due to the explosion of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which increases inflammation in blood vessels and can lead to transfusion complications. Other institutions receiving funding include Rice University, the University of California, San Diego and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Dr. Friedman’s co- principal investigators at these institutions are Drs. John Olson, Marcos Intaglietta, and Abdu Alayash, respectively. Dr. Friedman holds the Young Men's Division Chair in Physiology and is professor of physiology & biophysics and of medicine.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Taste in the Brain — In the November 1 issue of Cell MetabolismDr. Gary Schwartz and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Clémence Blouet report on the importance of the brainstem control of energy balance in the body.  While most research in this area has focused on the hypothalamus as the primary site of regulation, Drs. Schwartz and Blouet have found the brainstem to be a critical location for the detection and integration of multiple fuel-related signals.  They identified specific subsets of neurons in the brainstem that can sense the amino acid leucine and found that this signaling decreased food intake and body weight.  This work contributes to the growing understanding of how the body maintains energy homeostasis, which may have important implications for the nutritional control of the growing rates of obesity in the United States.  Drs. Schwartz and Blouet are in the Diabetes Research and Training Center in the departments of medicine and neuroscience.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Collaborating for the Cause — Researchers at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and the Montefiore Medical Center, led by Dr. Richard Gorlick, are part of a 50-institution, nonprofit consortium, the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration (SARC), whose aim  is tobetter understand the biology of sarcomas and to develop new approaches to their diagnosis and treatment. Sarcomas are cancers of bone and connective tissues and account for about 15 percent of childhood cancers. SARC was recently awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant of $11.5 million over five years from the National Cancer Institute. The SPORE funding will be dispersed among the SARC member institutions to support a variety of clinical research projects, as well as career development awards. Dr. Gorlick is professor of pediatrics and of molecular pharmacology at Einstein and vice chair of pediatrics at Montefiore. He also is leader of SARC’s Clinical Research Committee, which will determine recipients of the SPORE career development awards. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Heady Success — Dr. Michael Lipton has been awarded a $200,000 grant by the Dana Foundation, as part of its David Mahoney Neuroimaging Program, to study soccer heading-related brain injury.  A private, New York based, philanthropic organization, the Dana Foundation supports brain-related research through grants and educational public outreach efforts.  Dr. Lipton’s research on the effects of heading, a move in which soccer players direct the ball with their head, received national press attention last year and informed the public of its potential dangers.  The foundation’s funding  supports his continuing studies, through which he will use state-of-the-art imaging techniques to further understand the brain injury that occurs.  Dr. Lipton is associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center and associate professor of radiology, of neuroscience and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Discerning Sounds — Dr. Elyse Sussman has received a renewal grant for $1.7 million over five years from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, in support of her study of the neural mechanisms that contribute to the perception of sound and the ability to distinguish between various auditory sources. The inability to select a single sound when there are multiple sources competing with one another is a common complaint among elderly individuals and others with hearing loss, which also hinders communication ability. By studying the sound organization of adults with normal hearing, Dr. Sussman and colleagues aim to gain understanding of how the auditory system adapts and responds to environments in which various sound sources compete for attention. Their findings could help advance our understanding of auditory perception, as well as offer insights that contribute to the development of medical technologies such as hearing aids and other prosthetic devices. Dr. Sussman is a professor of neuroscience and of otorhinolaryngology.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Helping Heroes — Drs. Thomas Aldrich and Charles Hall each have received funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study obstructive airway disease (OAD), a common problem among  9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) responders. OAD is often but not always associated with bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR, asthma-like excessive sensitivity of airways). Dr. Aldrich will re-examine firefighters  who had or did not have BHR soon after 9/11, to determine whether BHR is associated with excessive lung function decline and whether this effect is reduced in those who received asthma medication. Dr. Hall will investigate whether WTC exposure continues to be associated with new onset OAD in responders more than 10 years following the event.  These studies will help shape existing policies that fund healthcare for WTC responders.  They also will help identify potential long-term health risks that may be relevant to other environmental or occupational exposure incidents. Dr. Aldrich is professor of medicine; Dr. Hall is professor of epidemiology & population health and of neurology.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Heart of the Issue — In the November 17 online issue of Atherosclerosis, Dr. Robert Kaplan and colleagues examine whether blood cholesterol levels in HIV-positive women predict atherosclerosis, a disease that results from deposits of cholesterol (fats) in the arteries.  An ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries of the neck can detect atherosclerosis – this measure was compared in HIV-infected women with different blood cholesterol levels.  The researchers found a strong association between higher cholesterol levels and more atherosclerosis among women on HIV medications, but not among women who were not receiving HIV treatment. These results offer important implications for detecting cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among patients with HIV, suggesting that standard blood cholesterol levels may not be an adequate indicator of CVD in untreated HIV infected women.  Other Einstein investigators included Dr. Kathryn Anastos and Christina Parrinello who was the paper's lead author. Dr. Kaplan is professor of epidemiology & population health; Dr. Anastos is professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health; and Ms. Parrinello was a research associate in epidemiology & population health.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 
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