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2019 ICTS Pilot Studies Award Recipients

The ICTS Pilot Studies are designed specifically to support exceptionally innovative and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms.

Dongbao Chen, PhD
Molecular Signatures of Serum Endothelial Exosomes in Pregnant Women with Placenta Accrete
This project will investigate the molecular signatures of circulating endothelial and placental trophoblast exosomes in sera from pregnant women, in hope for exploring circulating cell-specific exosomes as potential diagnosis biomarkers for the most dangerous obstetric condition called placenta accrete characterized as deep myometrial invasion of trophoblast villi and the pathological role of cell-specific exosomes in the pathogenesis of this human pregnancy-specific disease.


Hamid Djalilian, MD
Randomized Clinical Trial of Migraine Medications in Treatment of Tinnitus
We aim to perform a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial
to evaluate the effectiveness of nortriptyline-topiramate stepwise regimen, the effect of nortriptyline-topiramate combination on concomitant symptoms and quality of life in subjects with tinnitus, and most effective dosage of nortriptyline-topiramate combination with least side effects in treatment of tinnitus.


Jered Haun, PhD
Microfluidic device platform for processing human fat for autologous therapies
Fat tissue contains a large numbers of stem cells that could readily be collected and used to heal wounds and treat diseases. We are developing new microfluidic device technologies that will process fat samples into an ideal cell-based therapeutic that can be injected back into the same patient in a point-of-care setting. The devices will achieve this goal rapidly using only fluid forces, and thus will not need enzymes or other additives.


Michael Hoyt, PhD
A Biobehavioral Intervention for Young Men with Testicular Cancer
This study tests the efficacy of al biobehavioral intervention (Goal-Focused Emotion-Regulation Therapy or “GET”) relative to time-matched traditional supportive therapy in young men with testicular cancer. The study aims to determine if the developed intervention can decrease distress and improve patterns of stress-related hormones and immune system function. This will be among the first behavioral interventions to be tested in this population, and has potential to further the understanding of how behavioral and psychological factors can influence biological processes.


Autumn Ivy, MD, PhD
Early-life exercise may rescue cognitive impairments after chronic early-life stress: Epigenetic mechanisms in preclinical models
This research will test the hypothesis that physical exercise, known to improve learning and memory in the adult brain, can offset the negative sequelae of early-life stress on later-life cognition. By investigating specific epigenetic modifications within the hippocampus, this work will identify novel mechanisms engaged by exercise to reduce or prevent the long-term cognitive consequences of early-life stress.


Shahrdad Lotfipour, PhD
Molecular Neurobiology of Nicotine Use
The overall objective for this project is to identify the molecular neurobiology of nicotine use. The central hypothesis is that alpha6 nicotinic receptors via the Chrna6C123G genetic variant (rs2304297) perpetuate nicotine self-administration, with adolescence particularly at risk. The acquisition of such knowledge is essential to the development of improved prevention and intervention strategies for tobacco addiction.


Ichiro Yuki, MD
New Generation Liquid Embolic Material for the use of Endovascular Treatment: An organic polymer composite activated by the Ca2+ in the blood
The long-term goal of the proposed research is to develop a biologically inert liquid embolic material that does not cause catheter entrapment in blood vessels and can potentially be used as a drug delivery system.


Abstracts for each pilot project can be found here.