Media Contacts

Julie Kiefer

Manager, Science Communications, University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 801-587-1293

Jun 30, 2015 12:32 PM


The University of Utah’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) and Program in Personalized Health has awarded grants to eight interdisciplinary projects to advance research and practices leading toward customizing healthcare to the individual patient.

“The grants were designed to combine talent, resources, and perspectives from across disciplines in order to spur translational research related to personalized health,” says Will Dere, M.D., Executive Director of the Program in Personalized Health and Co-director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “The research projects touch on a range of issues that need to be addressed as we move health care toward treating the right patient at the right time with the right intervention at the right cost.”
This year’s recipients come from 12 departments at the University of Utah School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing, and include collaborations with ARUP Laboratories and Intermountain Healthcare, many of whom have benefited from CCTS' education and training resources for translational research including the KL2 Scholar Program (Tracy Frech, Robert Schlaberg), and Vice President’s Clinical & Translational (VPCAT) Research Scholar Program (Mingan Chen, Lori Gawron, Robert Schlaberg).

"We are proud of their accomplishments and believe these training programs develop successful principal investigators," says Carrie Byington, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, and Co-director of CCTS.

Grant recipients will carry out a variety of projects ranging from: developing novel immunotherapy treatments for multiple myeloma, to finding markers to identify Clostridium difficile infections that are refractory to treatment, to developing a decision support tool for counseling women with chronic diseases on contraception.

A total of $240,000 was awarded, with each project receiving $30,000. The seed grant awards are designed to position recipients for extramural funding.

Research project titles and awardees are:

•    Non-invasive, Host mRNA Biomarkers for Refractory Clostridium difficile Infection
Daniel Leung, M.D., M.Sc. (Internal Medicine, infectious disease), Robert Schlaberg, M.D., MPh (Pathology, ARUP Laboratories) Bert Lopansri M.D. (Intermountain Healthcare)

•    Development of a Combinatorial Cellular Immunotherapy for Multiple Myeloma
Djordje Atanackovic, M.D. (Internal Medicine/Hematology), Mingnan Chen, Ph.D. (Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry)

•    Tool to Optimize Use of BRCA Gene Testing in Families
Wendy Kohlmann (Population Health Sciences), Saundra Buys, M.D. (Oncology)

•     Study to Validate Statistical Prediction Models Derived from RNA Sequencing Data for Differential Diagnosis of Esophageal Eosinophilia
Mosaaki Yoshigi, M.D. (Pediatrics), Kathryn Peterson, M.D. (Internal Medicine/Gastroenterology)

•    Assessing Quality of Care Across Three CTSA Institutions
Diana Brixner, R.Ph., Ph.D. (Pharmacotherapy), Bernie LaSalle (Biomedical Informatics)

•    Prioritizing Personalized Reproductive Planning in the Silos of Subspecialty Care
Lori Gawron, M.D., MPH (OB/GYN), Katherine Sward, Ph.D., RN (Nursing)

•    Personalized Approach to the Scleroderma Esophagus
Tracy Frech, M.D., M.S. (Internal Medicine/Rheumatology), Erinn Downs-Kelly, M.S., DO (Pathology)

•    Impact of Psychological Profile and Socioeconomic Influences on Weight Recidivism Following Bariatric Surgery
Ana Ibele, M.D. (Surgery), Hillary Coon, Ph.D. (Psychiatry), Justin MacKenzie, Ph.D. (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)

The CCTS is committed to fostering multidisciplinary, innovative, clinical and translational research and fostering the development of novel translational research methods. Operating within the CCTS, the Program in Personalized Health is focused on engaging the entire University of Utah campus in the establishment of an integrated, patient centered realization of the promise of precision medicine. A personalized approach to patient care recognizes that each patient has a unique genetic makeup, is exposed to a unique set of environmental circumstances, and optimally benefits from interventions tailored to their individual needs.

precision medicine personalized heatlh