In November 2018, Arun Sanyal, M.D., will accept the 2018 Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The award signifies 30 years of research including 17 continuous years of National Institutes of Health funding, the development of therapeutics reducing liver disease across the globe, and countless international leadership roles and awards.
“This is the premier award in the field of liver disease and Dr. Sanyal is most deserving,” says Dean of Medicine Peter F. Buckley, M.D. “His work is the definition of translational medicine. Through his extraordinary commitment to research, teaching and patient care, and to always finding a better way, he has improved the standard of care for liver disease around the world.” Read More
At first, it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. An interdisciplinary research team of Virginia Commonwealth University faculty members and students had applied for federal funding to create a virtual diabetes education program that would empower people living with diabetes to manage their disease, but their grant application was denied.
“We thought we were going to receive funding,” said Alex Krist, M.D., a family medicine professor at VCU School of Medicine. “At the last minute we didn’t, but Privia Medical Group offered to help us as part of their clinical mission.”
Virginia Commonwealth University honored more than 50 faculty members who have recently been awarded endowed professorship and chair positions at the VCU Investiture Dinner, which was held on Sept. 27 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va.
“It is an honor to see this remarkable group of colleagues recognized for their work to advance our missions of education, patient care and discovery,” said VCU School of Medicine Dean Peter F. Buckley, M.D., who presided over the ceremony with VCU School of Business Dean Ed Grier.
In addition to recognizing the recipients of endowed professorships and chairs, the event honors the donors whose generous contributions to the university made the positions possible. Donors sat among the faculty recipients at the event, where faculty members were formally invested and presented with medallions. Read More
“I blend being a practicing family physician, teaching new physicians, conducting research and evaluating evidence to inform policy,” Krist said. “Each activity informs the other. For example, being a busy family physician helps shape my research to address the problems real-world patients and physicians face. Likewise, most of my research helps guide the steps I need to take to be a better physician.” Read More
Infants born very preterm, at or before 28 weeks gestation, are at high risk for developmental impairments. Physical therapy and medical specialists from Virginia Commonwealth University are leading a study in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Virginia to determine how early, evidence-based physical therapy intervention can enhance physical, social and cognitive outcomes.
The team of researchers was awarded a $2.84 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to facilitate the multi-site clinical trial, “Efficacy of Motor and Cognitive Intervention for Infants Born Preterm (SPEEDI2).”The program is based on two smaller studies using Supporting Play, Exploration and Early Developmental Intervention (SPEEDI) developed through a series of studies at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Stacey Dusing, Ph.D., a board-certified pediatric physical therapy specialist and associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at VCU and the Department of Pediatrics at CHoR, is the principal investigator for the project and the impetus behind the study concept. Read More
VCU surgeon Sudha Jayaraman, M.D., and VCU School of Pharmacy assistant professor Dayanjan Wijesinghe, Ph.D., have collaborated on using mass spectrometry to analyze medications that are in trauma patients’ blood. With funding from the CCTR Endowment Fund, and other VCU sources, their objective was to assess the feasibility of using mass spectrometry in a clinical setting. With the help of VCU Innovation Gateway, they have applied for a patent on the application and set up a company to market it, Mass Diagnostix.
The interdisciplinary VCU team hopes the use of mass spectrometry to analyze patients’ medications will become common practice. They predict in a few years, use of the machines will be standard practice for hospital laboratories.
We are excited to have been able to have helped this project along its way.
For more information about this project, please go to VCU News.
About the CCTR Endowment Fund: The VCU Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research’s Endowment Fund supports meritorious pilot and feasibility research. This mechanism can support research that applies discoveries generated in the laboratory and preclinical studies to the development of clinical trials. It also may fund proposals that seek to understand the biological basis for clinical manifestations. In addition, these funds may be used by faculty with well-established community academic partnerships for community engaged pilot research activities.
The next deadline for applications will be August 1, November 1 and February 1 for individual awards ($50,000) and May 1 for multi-school awards ($130,000)
Congratulations to Dr. S. Esra Sahingur as the 2018 Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement Award winner in Dentistry. This award recognizes excellence in leadership, advocacy and mentoring. Dr. Sahingur is a noted research in periodontics and systemic relationships to oral disease. She is also a Wright Center KL2 Scholar alumna.
The Wright Center’s KL2 program, established in 2010, is uniquely focused on high quality career development in clinical and translational research, engaging a diverse pool of faculty mentors and mentees across a range of disciplines to approach science through a “disease-agnostic” translational lens. This dynamic and responsive program is unlike any other at VCU and is an integrated and synergistic component of the Wright Center and university-wide workforce development. The broad ranging educational programs of the Wright Center and the KL2 will continue to expand research capacity in Virginia, nationally, and across the network of CTSA hubs capitalizing on strengths in Community Engaged Research, Team Science, and Informatics.
For more information about the Wright Center and its training programs for faculty, including the KL2 and Emerging Scholars programs, please contact Dr. Pam Dillon, Research Liason.
The VCU Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research’s Endowment Fund supports meritorious pilot and feasibility research. Multi-disciplinary research teams may apply for up to $130,000 to support research that involves collaborators from at least two different VCU schools. Applications including researchers from multiple disciplines are not only encouraged, but highly desirable. Application information and materials may be found at https://cctr.vcu.edu/resources/funding.html
These awards include generous stipends ranging from $45,000 – $80,000 per year for recent Ph.D. recipients, and higher for additional experience. Limited graduate level awards are available. These awards provide the opportunity for recipients to do independent research in some of the best-equipped and staffed laboratories in the U.S. Research opportunities are open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and for some of the laboratories, foreign nationals.
Four annual review cycles:
• November; Opens September 1; Closes November 1
• February; Opens December 1; Closes February 1
• May; Opens March 1; Closes May 1
• August; Opens June 1; Closes August 1
Applicants should contact prospective Research Adviser(s) at the lab(s) prior to the application deadline to discuss their research interests and funding opportunities.
Dr. F. Gerard, “Gerry” Moeller, Director of the Wright Center, has been appointed as the inaugural C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chair in Clinical and Translational Research.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Moeller said, “It is a great honor to be selected to hold a Chair that bears the names of C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright. Mr. Wright is one of the most magnanimous donors supporting clinical research at VCU, as was his wife before her passing. I personally owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. Wright as does the Center that bears his name.”
In addition to directing the Wright Center, Dr. Moeller is internationally known for his translational research on impulsivity and addictions using brain imaging as a tool for medication development. He is principal investigator of a center grant funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop novel treatments for cocaine and opioid addictions.
At VCU, Dr. Moeller has worked to enhance the culture of translational research. Approximately four years ago, he was appointed Director of the VCU Institute of Drug and Alcohol Studies, and two years ago, was appointed Director of the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Associate Vice President of Clinical Research.
Dr. Francis L. Macrina, Vice President for Research and Innovation called Dr. Moeller a physician-scientist who is a translational research exemplar. “Gerry ‘s appointment to the first Wright Distinguished Chair is a fitting tribute to his accomplishments in addiction science and to his visionary leadership of the Wright Center”, Macrina said.
The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Foundation have established a total of 6 Distinguished Chairs totaling $12 million. The remaining 5 endowed chairs will be awarded to faculty whose work promises to catalyze continued growth in translational research in the decades to come.