Carle and Illinois fund research to foster innovation and improve care

Carle and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently held an open call for proposals for jointly funded collaborative research among Carle physicians and Illinois investigators. This inaugural round of entries brought forth many new ideas and Carle and Illinois are pleased to announce that six proposals have been selected to receive support.

Neal Cohen, director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI) at Illinois, said the financial seeding of collaborative projects provides a jumpstart to new research projects and can help investigators get new ideas off the ground that should eventually attract federal funding or lead to new start-ups.

“The response to our call for proposals was met with great enthusiasm and the caliber of the resulting proposals was very impressive, which made the review committee’s job to select a small number for funding very difficult,” Cohen said. “It was inspiring to see the scope of innovative topics that were proposed—it is a testament to the innovation and collaboration of physician researchers and academic investigators we have at Carle and Illinois.”

Jennifer Eardley, (pictured) vice president for research at Carle, said one of the goals of the program is to support innovative approaches to challenges facing clinical care.

“Carle and Illinois have long collaborated on health research, with the promise of discoveries that can promote positive health outcomes,” Eardley said. “We are strengthening collaboration so we can be a catalyst for researchers with emerging ideas that can eventually lead to solutions to some of today’s clinical challenges.”

Proposals were required to have both a principle investigator from Carle and from Illinois and to have a strong connection between physicians and faculty.

The Carle Illinois Collaborative Research Seed Program selected the following proposals to fund:

  • Microstructural biomarkers of neurodegeneration in mild traumatic brain injury
    (Illinois PI: Aron K. Barbey; Carle PI: Kenneth S. Aronson)
  • Biochemical and electrophysiological analyses to identify the early biomarkers and pathogenic mechanisms for human temporal lobe epilepsy
    (Illinois PI: Hee Jung Chung; Carle PI: Graham R. Huesmann)
  • Understanding cognitive outcomes of strokes using rhythms of the brain
    (Illinois PI: Sepideh Sadaghiani; Carle PI: Samineh Khosrowshahi)
  • Automated fall risk assessment in high risk older adults
    (Illinois PI: Jacob Sosnoff; Carle PI: Sanjiv Jain)
  • Intestinal microbiota development in relation to nutritional status in preterm infants
    (Illinois PI: Sharon Donovan; Carle PI: Vitaliy Soloveychik)
  • Personalized absorbable gastrointestinal stents for intestinal fistulae and perforations
    (Illinois PI: Dipanjan Pan; Carle PI: Blair M. Rowitz)

In its first year, the program intended to fund five projects, however, due to a significant gift received by Carle Center for Philanthropy for research, a sixth project was funded. Each of these projects will be awarded $50,000. The second call for proposals for the Carle Illinois Collaborative Research Seed Funding Program is expected to be announced during the 2016-17 academic year, pending available funding.

For more information about the Carle Illinois Collaborative Research Seed Funding Program or the research projects being funded, contact Sue Johnson at: johnso16@illinois.edu or by phone at (217) 244-7114.