CTSI awards translational research project grants

by Dirk Hoffman

Published May 29, 2018

UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has awarded new grants that support promising translational research projects in Western New York.

Using local institutional support and an award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, the CTSI has funded two projects involving researchers from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

Biomarkers of Ischemic Stroke Subtype to Aid Post-Thrombectomy Workup

  • Co-principal investigators: Hui Meng, PhD, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Meng also holds appointments in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery and Adnan Siddiqui, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery.
  • Co-investigators: incent M. Tutino, PhD, research assistant professor of neurosurgery and biomedical engineering, John Kolega, PhD, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences; and Yijun Sun, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.

Developing diagnostics that aid the discovery of stroke origin would represent a major advance in stroke workup.

The advent of endovascular thrombectomy devices has enabled the investigation of freshly retrieved thrombi after stroke treatment. 

The researchers are proposing to develop biomarkers to characterize the origin of the stroke from characteristics of the blood clot. 

Such biomarkers could be implemented at the point-of-care to reduce time and cost of post-stroke workups and could help determine the origin of cryptogenic strokes.

To do this, the researchers will collect resected clots from stroke thrombectomy treatments and use clot characteristics to develop predictive algorithms to classify stroke origin.

Combining analysis of clot histology, gene expression, medical imaging and patient medical information and outcomes, the researchers will characterize stroke cases with different known origins.

Significant differences between etiologies will be incorporated into a machine learning pipeline to develop computational algorithms to classify different types of stroke.

Results from this study will be the springboard for larger efforts in developing biomarkers to aid in the clinical workup of stroke.

Pre-Clinical Evaluation of a Novel Antibody-Based Therapy to Improve Cardiac Repair After Acute Myocardial Infarction

  • Principal investigator: Brian R. Weil, PhD, research assistant professor of physiology and biophysics
  • Co-investigators: Joseph P. Balthasar, PhD; School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Sriram Neelamegham, PhD, professor of chemical and biological engineering. Neelamegham also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The study is a multi-disciplinary effort to develop a novel antibody-based treatment for patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI).

Based on a growing body of evidence that excessive accumulation of inflammatory immune cells can impair cardiac repair after MI, the investigative team has developed a functionblocking monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting E-selectin, an adhesion molecule that plays an important role in inflammatory cell mobilization and recruitment after cardiac injury.

The central purpose of the study is to complete preclinical studies in swine, while testing the hypothesis that administration of anti-E-selectin mAbs early after MI will improve post-infarction myocardial repair by reducing inflammatory cell infiltration in damaged heart muscle, thereby attenuating adverse cardiac remodeling and preventing the development of heart failure.

Ultimately, clinical translation of this new therapeutic strategy would significantly improve the treatment of millions of people who suffer from MI each year.