Cycle 2- May 2021 IHSFC Research Voucher Awards

Medium IHSFC Research Voucher Award(s): Medium research voucher applications support the expenses (up to $5,000) to cover costs associated with critical exploratory research and proof-of-concept studies needed for hypothesis generation and grant (re-)submission.


Principal InvestigatorTimothy O’Toole Ph.D.
Collaborator: NA
 The Nucelophilic Defense Against PM Toxicity (NEAT) Trial
Description:  Extensive epidemiologic data have indicated that exposure to particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) is associated with a variety of pulmonary, immunological, cardiovascular, and cognitive disorders. Oxidative stress and inflammation have been implicated as causative agents in PM2.5-induced vascular toxicity and we have previously shown that strategies to limit oxidative stress in mice mitigate these adverse effects. One particularly effective strategy in mice has been dietary supplementation with carnosine, an endogenous dipeptide (b-alanine-L-histidine) found at high levels in the skeletal muscle, brain and heart.  Among its chemical properties, carnosine can neutralize unsaturated aldehydes produced as a consequence of oxidative stress. To assess the efficacy of carnosine supplementation in humans, we have devised a double-blind randomized clinical study, the Nucleophilic Defense Against PM Toxicity (NEAT) trial. In this study 240 individuals will be randomly selected to take either carnosine or placebo supplements for 12 weeks over two summer periods (2021 and 2022), when local PM2.5 levels are at their highest. At baseline (prior to taking tablets) and twice during the 12-week supplementation period, we will collect blood and urine from the participants for the measurement of biomarkers, as well as make direct measures of vascular function, cognitive function, and physical strength. Statistical modeling approaches will be used to assess associations between PM2.5 exposure, adverse outcomes, and mitigation by carnosine.


Principal InvestigatorJiapeng Huang, M.D., Ph.D.
Collaborator: Lu Cai, M.D., Ph.D
 The Impact of Cadmium on Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in a Mouse Model
Description: This project will explore whether exposure to cadmium may worsen pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular dysfunction in a mouse model. The results will shed lights on environmental effects in the etiology and progression of pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular dysfunction.