Fall 2020 OEFC Research Voucher Awards Cycle 1

Small OEFC Research Voucher Award(s): Small research voucher applications support the costs (up to $1,500) associated with OMICs research needed to finish out a project or address questions arising in manuscript revisions or grant resubmissions.

1. Principal Investigator: Jiapeng Huang, M.D., Ph.D.
Collaborator: Lu Cai, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Metallomics in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Patients
Description: We aim to understand the relationship between metals and pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure. We will recruit patients with various severities of pulmonary hypertension and control patients. Their blood and urine metal samples will be collected and analyzed for 26 heavy metals and essential metals. Through advanced statistical analysis, we plan to study the relationship between metals and pulmonary hypertension

Click here to view Dr. Huang's OEFC Voucher Awardee presentation at Research!Louisville 2021

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

1. Principal Investigator: Madhavi Rane, Ph.D.
Collaborator: Sanjay Srivistava, Ph.D.
Title: Proteogenomic effects of acrolein on mouse kidneys
Description: Environmental pollution increases risks for kidney, heart, and lung disease, as well as cancer and infection. The contribution of acrolein, a component of cigarette smoke, to kidney fibrosis is unknown.  Fibrosis is formation of scar tissue leading to rapid decline in kidney function, and necessitating dialysis or kidney transplantation. Currently no effective therapies exist to treat kidney fibrosis, therefore, we will identify mRNA and proteins regulated by acrolein exposure that may affect kidney fibrosis progression in mice and which could provide novel therapeutic targets to inhibit kidney fibrosis and slow down progression to end stage renal disease.

2. Principal Investigator: J. Calvin Kouokam, Ph.D.
Collaborator: John Wise, Sr., Ph.D.
Title: The inflammatory response in human lung cells after exposure to particulate hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)], a key event in Cr(VI) carcinogenesis
Description: Chromium is a known human carcinogen that causes chromosomal instability. This project will explore the potential interactions between inflammation and DNA damage. The findings will provide insights into the use of anti-inflammatory and cancer chemopreventative agent to modulate chromium-associated inflammation and neoplastic transformation.

3. Principal Investigator: Timothy O’Toole, Ph.D.
Title: Microplastics Exposure and Cardiovascular Disease
Description: Modern society uses large amounts of plastics in consumer goods or for commercial purposes and much of this material is disposed in landfills or water supplies. In these conditions, there is a slow degradation of these larger plastic materials into small microplastics which can enter water supplies and the food cycle. There is growing evidence that exposure to solid, liquid, or gaseous pollutants in the environment may contribute to the incidence of diabetes, heart attacks or stroke. In this proposal using mice, we will test the idea that consumption of microplastics in drinking water contributes to these adverse outcomes.

Click here to view Dr. O'Toole's OEFC Voucher Awardee presentation at Research!Louisville 2021

Large Research OEFC Voucher Award(s): Large awards research voucher applications support ongoing NIEHS-funded research by subsidizing up to 25% total OMICS costs capped at a $10,000 maximum. 

1. Principal Investigator: J. Christopher States, Ph.D.
Collaborators: Shesh Rai, Ph.D., Juw Won Park, Ph.D.
Title: miRNA186 Impact on Differential Gene Expression, mRNA Splicing and Gene Fusions
Description: Chronic arsenic exposure, mostly via contaminated drinking water, is a worldwide health problem affecting more than 200 million people, causing multiple diseases including cancer. Arsenic causes chromosomal instability leading to cancer, but the mechanism is not known. Chromosomal instability includes translocations that can result in gene fusions that drive cancer. We have identified a small regulatory RNA that is overexpressing in arsenic induced skin cancer. We have shown that overexpression of this RNA in human skin cells increases chromosomal instability. This project will determine whether gene fusions are increased in human skin cells overexpressing this RNA with and without chronic arsenic exposure and characterize the gene fusions that occur.

Click here to view Dr. States OEFC Voucher Awardee presentation at Research!Louisville 2021