Young TSRI Scientists Receive Grants for Clinical Projects
By Mika Ono
One of the hardest things about starting out as a scientist
is finding money to fund those first few critical projects.
This week, three young investigators at The Scripps Research
Institute (TSRI) got some help from a new source, the Clinical
Research Feasibility Funds (CReFF), part of a grant from the
National Institutes of Health to TSRI's General Clinical Research
Center (GCRC). The CreFF program is intended to encourage
young investigators to become engaged in clinically oriented
research. Matching grants from the Skaggs Foundation and TSRI
also made the awards possible.
The three TSRI researchers, each winning $20,000 of support
for pilot projects at TSRI's General Clinical Research Center
- Marc Arnush, a postdoctoral fellow working with
Associate Professor K. Michael Pollard. He will conduct
a project comparing Daf gene structure and expression
of patients with and without a history of the lupus-related
kidney disease glomerulonephritis, one of the most significant
health problems associated with lupus.
- Emily Chen, a postdoctoral fellow working with
Associate Professor Brunhilde Felding-Habermann. She will
conduct a project to identify cell surface proteins that
contribute to the propensity of metastatic breast cancer
cells to colonize skeletal bone as a target organ.
- Alexander R. Shikhman, assistant professor. He
will conduct a study analyzing the safety and efficacy of
a potential therapy for osteoarthritis, N-acetylglucosamine,
in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
"Congratulations to the award winners," says TSRI Professor
Dr. Frank Chisari, program director of the GCRC. "I'm delighted
to see young investigators inspired to research such relevant
clinical problems using the excellent resources available
at TSRI's GCRC."
The winning projects were selected on the basis of scientific
merit, clinical relevance of the project and/or need for the
GCRC, and qualifications of the candidates. The GCRC Scientific
Advisory Committee, which is comprised of over a dozen members
representing four TSRI departments and three clinical divisions
of Scripps Clinic, acted as the selection committee for the
Arnush, Chen, and Shikhman will use the CReFF funds for
such diverse items as lab supplies, lab procedures, payments
to patients, rental of small equipment, experimental drug
preparation, and partial salary support.
The GCRC, which has over 100 approved clinical protocols,
provides investigators at TSRI and The Scripps Clinic Medical
Group with the facilities to conduct clinical research, including:
- a seven bed inpatient unit, including a sleep lab;
- an adjacent outpatient suite;
- nursing staff specially trained to provide both excellent
patient care and rigorous research data collection;
- a core laboratory staffed and equipped to perform specialized
research assays and provide specimen preparation and storage;
- a computer center, staffed with a biostatistician and
a systems manager, to help investigators design studies
and perform sophisticated genetic and clinical data management
In addition, the GCRC runs a blood donor program, which
ensures that the blood used in laboratory experiments is properly
drawn, screened, and categorized.
For more information about the GCRC, contact Beth Bieger,
administrative manager, at tie line 554-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is also available at the
GCRC web site.
Investigators Emily Chen, Marc Arnush,
and Alexander R. Shikhman (left to right) will conduct research
in TSRI's General Clinical Research Center.
Photo by Kevin Fung.