Three Research & Innovation Seed Grants Awarded to CMNS
The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and Baltimore (UMB) campuses announced the 2014 recipients of their joint Research and Innovation Seed Grant Program awards. Three seed grants were awarded to faculty members in the UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS).
Each seed grants is awarded to a team that includes at least one researcher from each institution. The program supports basic science research that crosses disciplinary boundaries and has the potential to be used for future health care improvements and technologies. The seed grant program is part of MPowering the State, a strategic partnership launched in 2011 to support collaborative research and education between the state’s top two public research institutions, UMD and UMB.
The first seed grants were awarded in 2008, and faculty in CMNS have received 17 seed grants since the program’s inception.
This year’s CMNS recipients include:
- Kan Cao, assistant professor, UMD Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
- Jonathan Simon, professor, UMD Department of Biology, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Institute for Systems Research
- Kevin McIver, associate professor, and Yoann LeBreton, research assistant professor, UMD Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
Cao will team with Joseph Stains, associate professor of orthopaedics at UMB, to study osteoporosis in patients with progeria, a rare disorder that causes premature aging. Patients with the disease experience a high incidence of fractures. A new therapy appears to effectively reverse osteoporosis in aging bone by enhancing signaling through a specific pathway. For their work, the researchers will examine whether the skeletal defect observed in patients with progeria is due to defective signaling in that same pathway. Correcting the signaling could potentially restore bone formation, improve bone quality, and reduce fracture risk in these patients.
Simon and Elliot Hong, UMB professor of psychiatry, will examine auditory neurophysiological dysfunctions, including hallucinations, observed in individuals with schizophrenia. The neural mechanisms underlying these diverse abnormalities, which are measured by electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography techniques, are not known. This research will advance the state of research in schizophrenia.
McIver, LeBreton, and Mark Shirtliff, associate professor in the UMB School of Dentistry, will combine two next-generation sequencing approaches to identify genes that contribute to severe invasive Group A Streptococcus disease. Group A Streptococcus is listed by the World Health Organization among the top 10 leading causes of morbidity and mortality from infectious disease worldwide, causing over 500,000 deaths each year. This research will contribute to the future development of improved diagnostics, infection prevention through immunomodulation, and vaccine development against Group A Streptococcus infections in humans.
University of Maryland
College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
2300 Symons Hall
College Park, Md. 20742
About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college’s 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.