• Rhode Island Foundation Awards More Than $360,000 in Seed Funding for Medical Research

    The work ranges from studying whether healthy romantic relationships can reduce the risk of stroke to a project to help children better cope with ADHD
    The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that it is awarding more than $360,000 in seed funding to 15 promising medical research projects. The work ranges from a study that will look at whether healthy romantic relationships can help reduce the risk of stroke to a project that could help children better cope with ADHD.
    The grants are designed to help early-career researchers advance projects to the point where they are competitive for national funding. With this round of grants, the Foundation has awarded more than $5.7 million since 1997.  
    “Together with our visionary donors, we are providing the crucial source of early funding that enables local researchers to purse promising medical advances,” said David N. Cicilline, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our hope is that their successes will lead to substantial new investments in the state’s research sector that will grow our economy and improve the health of Rhode Islanders.” 
    Laboratory, clinical and population-based research was eligible for funding. In addition to general medical research, grants were available to study infectious diseases, cardiac research, coronary artery disease, cerebral accidents, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, allergies, and performance enhancing substances. 
    The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 to study the impact of physical activity on children with ADHD, which negatively impacts many common childhood milestones such as decision-making, language development and goal-setting.   
    The study will recruit children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 with and without ADHD. 
    "We will look at the association between levels of physical activity and neurocognitive functioning in all children, particularly those with ADHD who struggle with daily executive functioning skills,” said Nicole Logan, assistant professor of kinesiology, who will lead the study.  
    “We expect the results will support alternative methods of managing childhood ADHD symptoms and provide insight on alternative methods of ADHD diagnosis. Because physical activity and related outcomes like fitness, muscular strength and body composition are closely associated with neurocognitive function throughout childhood, we expect that children with ADHD will show improvement.”  
    The University of Rhode Island also received $24,766 to look at whether healthy romantic relationships can help reduce the risk of stroke. The study will be led by Jessica Cless, assistant professor of human development and family science. 
    “Factors such as stress, coping strategies, and a person’s experiences in romantic relationships have been shown to affect positive health behaviors such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine,” said Cless. 
    “In order to understand the more nuanced effects that stress and relationship factors have on positive health behaviors, we will collect data from adult romantic partners to understand how stress and relational experiences in romantic relationships can predict positive health behaviors,” she said. 
    The results from this study are expected to provide preliminary practical recommendations for both mental and public health professionals as communities seek to develop prevention programming to bolster healthy behaviors, thereby reducing the risk for heart attacks, strokes and other stress-related illnesses.  
    The other grants and projects are:  

    1. Brown University received $25,000 for “The impact of small intestinal microbiome in sepsis during aging” led by Karthikeyani Chellappa, assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology.  
    2. The Ocean State Research Institute received $25,000 for “Impaired inflammatory arteriogenesis is the result of IL-1beta resistance and macrophage IL-1 receptor complex protein defects in the context of chronic Diabetes mellitus” led by Chris Mantsounga, assistant professor of medicine at Brown University and a research biologist at the Institute.  
    3. Providence College received $23,769 for “Medial prefrontal cortical circuits in motivation and depression” led by Ryan Post, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience.  
    4. Providence College received $25,000 for “Piloting a Mobile Adherence Game with Economic Incentives for Young People with HIV in Ghana” led by Nicholas Tarantino, assistant professor of psychology.  
    5. Providence College received $25,000 for “Investigating signaling networks linking cell size and growth to the cell cycle” led by Kristi Miller, assistant professor of biology.  
    6. Rhode Island Hospital received $25,000 for “Healthcare transition of adolescents living with HIV in Rwanda” led by Tanya Rogo, associate professor of pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  
    7. Rhode Island Hospital received $25,000 for “Implementation and Evaluation of Pre- Hospital Trauma Program for CHW’s in far-west Nepal” led by Ramu Kharel, an assistant professor or emergency medicine with an appointment in the Division of Global Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.   
    8. Roger Williams University received $25,000 for “Cognitive Impairments in a Mouse Model of Bipolar Disorder” led by Victoria Heimer- McGinn, assistant professor of psychology.  
    9. The University of Rhode Island received $20,000 for “Access and Safety of Opioid Agonist Therapy in Pregnant Women” led by Xuerong Wen, associate professor of pharmacy practice.  
    10. The University of Rhode Island received $20,635 for “Serotonin neuron modulation after spinal cord injury” led by Marin Manuel, assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences.   
    11. The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “Upscaling participation in WIC: A Pilot Study” led by Issac Agbemafle, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition.  
    12. The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “Development of Liquid Biopsy Assays for the Prediction of TKI Exposure in Cancer Patients” led by Brahim Achour, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.  
    13. The University of Rhode Island received $25,000 for “Removal of catheter- associated biofilms using magnetic nanoparticles” led by Irene Andreu, assistant professor of chemical engineering.   
    A panel made up of scientists and physicians helped the Foundation evaluate the proposals.  
    The funding came through 22 endowments at the Foundation that help medical researchers win permanent funding from national sources. They are the Alice Newton Fund, Alice W. Bliss Memorial Fund, Anne Elizabeth Chase Fund, Charles Goss Memorial Fund, Charles V. Chapin Fellowship Fund, Clean Competition Fund, Colonel Lee Walton and Xenia Roberts Memorial Fund, Edythe K. & Jane E. Richmond Memorial Cancer Fund, Esther S. Phillips Fund, Eva and Boris Frankfurt Fund, Frieda Dengal Fund, Gilbert J. Clappin, Jr. Memorial Fund, Haire Family Fund, Healing Ribbons Fund, Herbert E. Hopkins Fund, John O. Strom, MD Memorial Fund, Marquise d'Andigne Fund, Mary A. Young Cancer Fund, Phebe Parker Fund, Richard N. and Beverly E. Carr Fund, Rosalyn R. Reynolds Fund, Samuel J. and Esther Chester Medical Research Fund.  
    The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through civic leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is improving the lives of all Rhode Islanders. For more information, visit rifoundation.org 

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