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ACTRI News and Funding Opportunities - September 2017

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Newsletter:
September 2017, Vol. 2, Issue 9

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium, led by the National Institutes of HealthNational Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,400 members. The ACTRI News and Funding Opportunities is a monthly newsletter.

Director’s Message, Fall 2017

FiresteinIt began as an experiment four years ago. UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) and UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) launched an initiative to bring physicians and engineers together to develop and implement novel engineering solutions for specific unmet medical needs. Since establishing the Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) program, we have awarded 15 physician-engineer teams with diverse and innovative projects. Successful examples include a home system to predict cystic fibrosis flares; injectable biomaterial for treating pelvic floor disorders; 3-D printable, disposable endoscopes; and epidermal electronics technology for minimally invasive monitoring of brain function in newborns. Read more

ACTRI Special Announcements

ACTRI Hosts Cognitive Resilience in Aging Symposium on November 1

ACTRI Hosts Cognitive Resilience in Aging Symposium on November 1

Our society is aging. Every day another 10,000 Americans celebrate their 65th birthday. By 2030, 20 percent of our population will be 65 years or older. From both a personal and societal perspective, retaining cognitive ability in aging is of paramount importance. Some individuals have attained remarkable longevity with intact cognition and preserved brain health. Others have remained cognitively healthy far into the later years of life despite the presence of substantial pathology. Better understanding of the factors that lead to preserved cognitive function in aging is essential to ensure more of us remain cognitively healthy throughout our extended lifespan. On November 1, the Center for Life Course Research at UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) will present a symposium, “Cognitive Resilience in Aging,” from 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the ACTRI Building. This symposium, which features an international group of speakers, will explore the factors that contribute to cognitive and brain health in aging, and the methodologies for studying brain health in aging from a life course perspective. Read more and register

Funding Opportunities

NEW**ACTRI and IEM Invite Applications for 2018 Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) Awards Phase I
(Open to Clinically Active UC San Diego Faculty)
Deadline: November 20, 2017 by 5 p.m. PT

NEW** ACTRI Invites Proposals for TL1 Postdoctoral Fellowships
Deadline: November 1, 2017 by 12 p.m. PT

ACTRI and Pfizer Announce the Call for Pre-Proposals for Biotherapeutic and Small-Molecule Targets
Deadline for Pre-proposals: October 13, 2017

ACTRI Seeks Proposals for Administrative Supplements

ACTRI Vouchers for ACTRI Research Services (In-kind)

  • Allowance for Vouchers to Supplement Two Types of NIH-Funded Studies for ACTRI Clinical Services Only
  • Recent Addition of CCBB Vouchers

Eligible: Unfunded Projects Designed to Gather Preliminary Data for Grant Submissions or ACTRI Pilot Projects, Career Development Awards (K-series only; UC San Diego only) and ACTRI KL2 Awardees. In addition, Vouchers can potentially be used to supplement two types of NIH-funded studies for ACTRI clinical services only.

NCATS Open Funding Opportunities

Courtesy Postings

  • OptumLabs and UC Health

ACTRI News and Features

Fiza Singh, MD
Fiza Singh, MD.
Photo by Kyle Dykes.

ACTRI-Supported Researcher Singh Receives Five-Year NIH Grant for Schizophrenia Study

There’s a saying: Neurons that fire together, wire together. Wiring builds neural networks that enable critical cognitive functions such as memory. Fiza Singh, MD, is interested in improving memory in people with schizophrenia, who tend to exhibit abnormal neural coherence and synchrony. In 2016, UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) awarded Dr. Singh a one-year pilot project grant to study how to enhance gamma band response in schizophrenia patients to improve working memory. Neuronal activity in the gamma frequency band, in frontal parts of the brain, controls memory. Dr. Singh’s project tested gamma-neurofeedback as a potential therapy for improving memory in people with schizophrenia. Her study led to a prestigious five-year NIH R61 grant to build on this research. “The NIH grant is a direct result of the protected time that I received from the ACTRI pilot project funding, and I am really grateful to ACTRI,” said Dr. Singh, an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. Read more

ACTRI-Supported Surgeons to Present at Premier Annual Surgical Meeting in October

The 2017 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons (ACS)—the premier annual surgical meeting in the world—will convene in San Diego October 22-26. The ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons dedicated to improving the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) has supported many surgeon-scientists in UC San Diego’s Department of Surgery, several of whom will present, moderate or otherwise participate in the Clinical Congress. Among them:

Dr. Jason
Dr. Sonia
Dr. Todd

Dr. Jason Sicklick, who received a 2012 pilot project award for Innovative Targeting of Melanoma with Allosteric RAF inhibitors, is a discussant for the Hepatobiliary and Pancreas I session titled “Partial Sleeve Duodenectomy (PSD) for Duodenal Lesions.”

Dr. Sonia Ramamoorthy, chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery, who was a KL2 grant awardee through ACTRI’s Education program in 2011, will present on rectal foreign bodies during the anorectal session. Her KL2 project was "Neoplastic Transformation in Squamous Cell Cancer of the Anus."

Dr. Todd Costantini, assistant director of UC San Diego Health's Level 1 Trauma Center, received a 2013 pilot project award for Taxonomically Restricted Gene Expression in Injured Patients. Costantini, who was appointed Chairman of the regional American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, mentors a third year medical student who will present their research as part of the ACS Medical Student Program. Their abstract is titled “Respect your Elders-Age Disparities in ICP Monitor Use in Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Read more

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In This Issue

Upcoming Seminars

ACTRI Communications Seminar for Early Career “K” and Equivalent Awardees

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is hosting a year-long career development seminar series, “Communicating: Your Academic Life Depends on It,” for early career “K” and equivalent Career Development awardees from UC San Diego, San Diego State University, and ACTRI partner institutions. The second session in the series is scheduled for Tuesday, October 3, 2017. Presentations will include “Web Profiles” by Dr. Deborah Spector; “Accessing ACTRI Recharge Services” by Dr. Mark S. Wallace; and “Effective Writing, Part I.” The session will take place at the ACTRI building. RSVP is required to Read more

Opportunity Knocks

Above are ACTRI postdoctoral fellow Gretchen Bandoli, PhD, (left) with her mentor, Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, director of the ACTRI Center for Life Course Research.

ACTRI Announces TL1 Postdoctoral Fellowship

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is offering a mentored funded postdoctoral fellowship training opportunity. The goal of this fellowship is to develop scholars' skills in advanced clinical and translational research. The fellowship includes participation in career development seminars, a small budget for research and training expenses, and one year of an ACTRI-funded stipend to support postdoc salary. Fellows will have a total of one year of salary support from the ACTRI, and their departments will provide salary support for the additional one year. At the time of application, candidates must have earned a doctoral degree (including PhD, MD, PharmD, or equivalent), and typically have no more than two years of postdoctoral research experience. Read more.

GEM Phase 1 now open

ACTRI Services

ACTRI Laboratory Services

The Translational Research Technology Division (TRT) at UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) provides a one-stop shop of flexible laboratory-based services for translational studies to members of the ACTRI and external collaborators. We support a broad range of clinical and translational research projects by providing Biorepository, Sample Acquisition, and Laboratory (bio-analytical, and assay development) services. Find out more about how TRT can help you.

Cite the Grant

citegrantdocDon’t forget to cite the grant!

To help ensure resources are available for future research, please cite the UCSD ACTRI CTSA grant.

Projects and Publications using UCSD ACTRI resources must cite the UCSD ACTRI grant and follow the NIH Public Access Policy.

NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)


ACTRI News and Funding Opportunities

Gary S. Firestein, MD
Director of ACTRI

Eric Mah
Chief Administrative Officer

Patricia Wieser
Communications Director

Tracy Dezenzo
Graphic Designer


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