Nov. 24, 2015 | The UAMS Translational Research Institute announced recipients of two pilot grants aimed at stimulating collaborative research with institutions in other states.

UAMS’ Joshua Kennedy, M.D., is the co-leader of a one-year project with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC).  Another project is co-led by UAMS’ Sean Adams, Ph.D., with John Thyfault, Ph.D., at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC).

The competitive awards were made available through the Western States Consortium Pilot Awards program. The consortium includes the University of Utah in addition to UAMS, KUMC and UNM HSC. Of the eight applications submitted, three one-year pilots of up to $50,000 were awarded, with costs shared by the institutions.

“Collaboration is essential in successful translational research, and I am proud that UAMS researchers represent two of the three projects selected for the 2015 program,” said TRI Director Laura James, M.D.

The UAMS – UNM HSC project, “Host-Pathogen Genomic Determinants of Pediatric Respiratory Infection Severity,” will study the role of genetics in children with acute respiratory infections.

Kennedy is 2013 recipient of the Translational Research Institute’s KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Award. His primary collaborator at UNM, Darrell Dinwiddie, Ph.D., is also a KL2 recipient.

Sean Adams, Ph.D.

Sean Adams, Ph.D.

The pilot award is expected to strengthen their ongoing KL2 research programs by uniquely blending their expertise in genetics, next-generation sequencing, virology, clinical infectious disease, and allergy and immunology.  The project, which will enroll 100 pediatric patients, involves two distinct populations with differing respiratory infection patterns.

The UAMS – KUMC project is titled “Metabolomics Signatures That Occur in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Patients With and Without Type 2 Diabetes in Comparison to Controls (non-AD) With or Without Type 2 Diabetes.”  The two institutions are combining their expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes (KUMC), and metabolomics and bioinformatics in metabolic disease states including type 2 diabetes (UAMS). They anticipate their work will provide key information on the links between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. It will also provide metabolic-based information on the cause and development of Alzheimer’s and possibly highlight therapeutic targets.

Other researchers on the project are UAMS’ Kartik Shankar, Ph.D., and KUMC’s Jill Morris, Ph.D., and Brian Piccolo, Ph.D.