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Six ODU Faculty Members Win Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Seed Funding

By Sarah Huddle

Six Old Dominion University faculty members - three teams composed of two researchers - were recently awarded $24,000 per team for interdisciplinary research through the Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Seed Funding grant.

The grant was established by a consortium of ODU's biomedical research leadership, including Gymama Slaughter, director of the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics (CBE), and the deans from the Colleges of Engineering and Technology, Health Sciences, Sciences and the Graduate School.

The grant, open to tenured and tenure-track professors, seeks to encourage and support multidisciplinary biomedical research through a competitive, intramural funding opportunity.

Originally, one or two grants were to be awarded. But the committee and review panel were so impressed by the highly competitive proposals that three grants were funded.

The grant recipients include Piotr Kraj, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Stephen Beebe, research professor in the Frank Reidy Center. Their project focuses on developing strategies to eliminate tumors by combining electric pulses, which induce tumor cell death, with immunotherapy to enhance Th cell responses to tumor-associated antigens.

Esin B. Sözer, research assistant professor at the CBE, and Willy Wriggers, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,proposed to research how molecules breach a cell membrane that is exposed to electrical pulses for biomedical applications such as gene editing and targeted killing of tumor cells.

Peter Mollica, assistant professor in the Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences, and Shu Xiao, associate professor at the CBE, will investigate the potential of pulse electric fields in disrupting intracellular protein aggregates found in human neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington's and Alzheimer's.

More information on the grant can be found here.

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