Four Miller School Researchers Awarded Miami CTSI Pilot Program Grants

The Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has awarded pilot program funding to four Miller School researchers.

Selected from more than 35 applicants, Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, Dileep Yavagal, M.D., assistant professor of clinical neurology and neurological surgery, Subbarayan Pochi, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine, and Sonjia Kenya, Ed.D., assistant research professor of medicine, will each receive up to $100,000.

Funding was awarded to the applicants whose proposals had the highest potential of becoming federally funded and were aligned with CTSI goals of improving health disparities and minority health and conducting innovative clinical translational research and transdisciplinary projects.

With her grant, Fornoni, who is also a member of the Diabetes Research Institute, will study a collaborative approach to understanding predictors of diabetic kidney disease, which disproportionately affects South Florida ethnic minority populations, in high-risk populations.

Yavagal will use the funds for an innovative approach looking into time window associated with the intracarotid delivery of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in large-animal stroke models.

Pochi, who is also a member of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, will study the anticancer potential of compounds found in a tropical plant species used in ayurvedic medicine to treat pancreatic cancer.

Kenya will conduct a study on the feasibility of home-based HIV rapid testing among Miami’s African-American population, the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV.

The pilot program is part of the Miami CTSI Pilot and Collaborative Translational and Clinical Studies component, directed by Michael Antoni, Ph.D., professor of psychology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and co-directed by Vinata B. Lokeshwar, Ph.D., professor of urology and co-director of urology research. In addition to providing direct support for meritorious projects, the component aims to enhance and streamline the University’s existing pilot programs into a collective system as well as enhance existing pilot and collaborative funding programs by providing subsidized support services.

The next request for applications will be announced later in the year. For more information about the Miami CTSI pilot program, please contact research navigator Patricia Avissar at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 305-243-5085.

The Pilot and Collaborative Translational and Clinical Studies component is supported by grant No. 1UL1TR000460, the University of Miami CTSI, from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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