The Meharry Translational Research Center

metric research photo

The purpose of the Meharry Clinical and Translational Research Center (MeTRC) grant is to cultivate minority researchers by funding their projects, and building an infrastructure of laboratories, training, and support staff. Budding scientists compete for pilot projects, in hopes their research ideas will mature into collaborative projects with other investigators. In time, they become fully funded researchers who are able to attract external funding and operate independently.

Translational research is a branch of scientific research that has developed in recent years which translates lab discoveries into actual treatments patients can use. The scientists in the Meharry Translational Research Center look for treatments for diseases and health disorders that disproportionately impact minorities. Areas of emphasis include infectious diseases (especially HIV/AIDS) and women’s health.

REQUIREMENT: Each publication, press release, or other document about research supported by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) award must include an acknowledgment of NIH award support and a disclaimer such as:

“Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.  The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.”

METRC Key Activities

Biomedical informatics is an interdisciplinary science that integrates clinical research, biology, computer science, Health Information Technology (HIT), biostatistics, and mathematics to solve problems related to biomedical research. Biomedical informatics serves as the backbone that drives discovery from the bench to the bedside.

 

The success of our current biomedical informatics program capitalizes on Meharry’s strong collaborative networks and alliances with regional and national research programs such as the Research Centers in Minority Institutes (RCMI), the RCMI Translational Research Network (RTRN), and the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). This allows biomedical informatics to leverage resources available through these programs, and to collaborate among biomedical informatics activities.

 

To fulfill these goals, the specific aims are as follows:

  1. Develop an effective informatics infrastructure that will support the Meharry Clinical and Translational Research Center (MeTRC) goals in translational research;
  2. Develop new informatics tools and enhance our existing tools to meet the program’s demands for informatics support;
  3. Develop strategies for facilitating internal communication within MeTRC as well as external collaboration and partnerships.

 

More information here.

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The objective of the Collaborative Research Program (CRP) is to foster sustained collaborations between basic, clinical, and translational researchers from various disciplines at Meharry Medical College and to generate long-term partnerships with other public and private organizations in order to grow an integrative program of clinical and translational research.

 

Specific Aims are:

  • Develop a MeTRC-based Collaborative Research Program (CRP) to provide the financial resources to protect the time of clinical as well as basic researchers to participate in large-scale collaborative translational research projects related to disparities in women’s health and infectious disease.
  • Increase external and internal partnerships to accelerate the success and national impact of research at Meharry Medical College.  Develop a sustained, evidence-based translational research network in Tennessee that partners Meharry with the State of Tennessee Department of Health (in particular, the Tennessee Division of Minority Health and Health Disparities Elimination) along with other academic and community health centers and agencies to address health disparities related to women and infectious disease.  The network will design and implement a much-needed regional or state-wide intervention on a community health concern to be determined by the network.  Promote collaborations within Meharry among basic and clinical scientists, and between departments and schools to launch new translational research projects.  Develop collaboration(s) between Meharry and the Resources for Translational Research Network (RTRN) as well as the Data Technology Coordinating Center (DTCC), while maintaining our focused partnerships with Vanderbilt Medical Center’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, which has been dubbed Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR).
  • Development of an interactive MeTRC website to share information about research-related activities with collaborators, RTRN and VICTR
    investigators and the public.

 

For additional information contact:

Stella Nowicki, D.D.S.
Collaborative Research Program Director
615.327.6689
snowicki@mmc.edu

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The goal of the Community Engagement and Research Program (CERP) within Vanderbilt’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) program is to develop transformative collaborative structures and strategies that will bring Meharry Medical College (MMC) and Vanderbilt University (VU) translational investigators and research programs together with community partners to shape and support innovative and community-based research. CERP provides the necessary opportunities, and broadly engages community partners throughout the clinical and translational research enterprise. The proposed program will build on existing activities and structures to create an explicit and innovative infrastructure that will engage community partners, including:

  1. Academic institutions;
  2. Health care systems, providers and payers;
  3. Corporate healthcare entities, and;
  4. Community advocates including public health entities, non-profit and faith-based organizations, and grass-roots groups that focus on improving community health.

 

The proposed program will engage each of these groups of partners to develop meaningful working relationships and stimulate and support collaborative translational research.

 

Specific Aims are:

  1. To create and sustain an effective infrastructure that brings community and academic partners together to design, implement, evaluate and disseminate health-related research studies that enhance the capacity of all participants to address health priorities among diverse communities.
  2. To engage community and academic partners to increase the quality and quantity of effective, responsive, and culturally- sensitive translational research that result in the implementation of best practices to improve public health.
  3. To develop a set of core services that will support the efforts of researchers in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of research projects that engage communities, including:
    • Community data profiling and needs assessment;
    • Process evaluation of community-based research;
    • Development and maintenance of a web-based community and academic resource registry
    • Community engagement and capacity building consultation;
    • Measurement and outcomes evaluation consultation;
    • Training and education services;
    • Dissemination and utilization services.

 

For additional information please contact:

Leah Alexander, Ph.D.
Community Engagement and Research Program Director
615-327-5839
lalexander@mmc.edu

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The focus of the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC) evaluation activity is to conduct monitoring evaluation, mid-term reviews and periodic surveys with key stakeholders in order to ensure that there is robust evidence and a knowledge base for the design, implementation and impact assessment of the key functions.  Additionally, the key functions are evaluated based on their collective effects on building capacity and infrastructure for clinical and translational research in women and health disparities.

 

On-going monitoring and evaluation facilitates the day to day management of the program. The mid-term review conducted at the end of year two is intended to illuminate the steps required to achieve desired goals. An external evaluator is expected to conduct a summative evaluation during the final year of the initiative to assess as objectively as possible the extent to which MeTRC met its short- and long-term objectives. Overall, the evaluation plan will generate evidence on the impact of MeTRC on building capacity and infrastructure for clinical and translational research, and examine related questions such as whether capacity for competitive clinical and translational research in women health disparities is increasing and what pathways led to the increase. Evaluation findings will provide critical information for guiding MeTRC as well as the future planning of Clinical and Translational Research (RCTR) programs.

 

For additional information contact:

Christine Minja-Trupin Ph.D.
MeTRC Evaluation Director
615.327.6528
ctrupin@mmc.edu

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The purpose of the Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource (PCIR) is to provide the resources necessary to facilitate clinical research in a minority academic setting by expanding existing programs, nurturing new investigators, and encouraging full utilization of its services. This PCIR provides an environment that promotes participation in outpatient clinical and translational research, community outreach that fosters participation of underrepresented minorities, and resources for cost-effective research participant interactions.

 

Specific Aims:

 

Specific Aim 1: Enhance institutional and translational research infrastructure, capacity, and accountability;

 

Specific Aim 2: Provide an outpatient clinical and translational research environment that fosters the participation of underrepresented minorities;

 

Specific Aim 3: Foster intra-institutional and inter-institutional collaborations to increase the capacity to improve minority health and address minority health disparities.

 

More information here.

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The purpose of the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC) Pilot Project Program is to fund peer reviewed investigator-initiated pilot projects in translational and clinical research which will develop, energize, and maintain a critical mass of clinical and translational scientists at Meharry Medical College.

 

The specific aim of the program is to increase the quantity and quality of translational and clinical research projects at Meharry Medical College and enhance the competitiveness of Meharry’s clinical and translational research investigators in securing extramural research funding.

 

We are able to achieve this specific aim by developing and disseminating internal Requests for Applications (RFA), soliciting for pilot investigator-initiated translational and clinical research projects.

 

One major impediment to translational and clinical research is the difficulty in determining whether the idea has any real merit once applied to the human model. Frequently this preliminary evaluation lends itself to the format of a pilot project. Furthermore, most National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application mechanisms generally require some, if not substantial, preliminary data in order to compete and receive serious consideration.

 

Such data can be generated via seed or pilot project funding program without the major time and fund investment in a full project, and without exposing research subjects to unnecessary long and potentially risky clinical trials.

 

For a listing of current and previous Pilot Projects click here.

 

For additional information contact:

Bogdan Nowicki, M.D.
MeTRC Pilot Projects Director
615.327.6619
bnowicki@mmc.edu

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The overall objective of the faculty recruitment program is to attract investigators that will further the development of Meharry’s capacity to conduct clinical and translational research.

 

Specific Objectives of the program are:

  1. To establish a cadre of investigators engaged in sustained, independent clinical research who will serve as career models and mentors for developing clinical and translational scientists at Meharry.
  2. To provide skilled leadership for the Clinical Research Center which will enable the unit to offer proactive, robust, and efficient services for clinical and translational research related to health disparities.

 

The faculty recruitment program is relevant to public health because it will increase the number of scientists at Meharry who are conducting research that directly involves patients. In addition, because the research focus of Meharry is health disparities, the faculty recruitment program will specifically focus on investigators that understand the myriad of reasons for the striking differences in the health status of different sectors of the American public, and will focus on ways to eliminate these disparities.

 

The faculty recruitment program intends to recruit a magnet physician-investigator and a second physician-scientist who, together with current faculty, will furnish a model of clinical science as a primary career commitment. The investigators who are recruited will be expected to demonstrate specific methods of implementing translation research for the junior faculty members. They will be serving as mentors for the junior faculty members and will be utilizing various methods of communications, to lead by way of example. As part of this endeavor, the magnet scientist will be expected to “take charge” of the Clinical Research Center, and use it as an instrument to develop junior investigators into independent, career scientists as well as to deepen our understanding of human health.

 

For additional information please contact:

Russell E. Poland, Ph.D
Director of Recruitment
615.327.6171
rpoland@mmc.edu

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The overall vision of the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC) Regulatory Support Core is to provide regulatory knowledge and support through a process of standardization and consistent implementation of advances in information technology /services to all investigators and clinical research personnel. Our mission is to reduce their administrative burden and improve participant safety and regulatory compliance in an effort to foster translational research and expedite the speed with which findings are translated to patient care. This vision involves improved quality.

 

As a result, documents will be submitted to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and other administrative offices in a higher quality form resulting in fewer steps/delays in approval and less frustration from investigators. Streamlined communications, standardized processes, forms, templates and staff with knowledge of regulatory and reporting requirements will result in improved efficiency and satisfaction.

 

The Specific Aims of the Regulatory Core are:

  1. Guided by data-driven needs assessments, the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) will provide a “One-Stop Shopping Environment” in support of the research community by adding in an expanded menu of services. This includes:
    • Improve regulatory compliance and protection of human subjects by expanding Individualized Measured Performance and Collaborative
      Training Techniques (IMPACTT);
    • Help researchers navigate the process by creating a central point of access to research resources;
    • Design and coordinate efforts to provide access to educational tools, resources and sessions designed for investigators and research personnel;
    • Improve communication and identification of regulatory, compliance or process issues.
  2. Support new investigators by creating an Investigator Advocacy Program to provide a specialized set of research services consultants assisting with some or all components of the regulatory administrative efforts and serve as a liaison in interactions with IRB and other regulatory bodies of internal administrative offices. Investigators and clinical study personnel represented by the Investigator Advocate (IA) will bear less of the burden of administrative regulatory requirements thereby allowing investigators and research personnel to focus on participant interactions, safety and most importantly, their scientific interests.
  3. Ensure research subject safety and knowledge, as well as research integrity and quality by expanding the Research Subject Advocacy (RSA) Program to help ensure human subject protection.
  4. Support “big science” by implementing our Professional Management Program, staffed with personnel trained to move teams toward a common vision on complex, multi-disciplinary projects.

Contact Us

Russell Poland
Regulatory Support Director, MeTRC
615.327.6171
rpoland@mmc.edu

Jared Elzey
Project Manager of the Meharry Research Concierge Services (MeRCury)
615.327.5800
jelzey@mmc.edu

Yaritza Griselle Gandulla
Investigator Advocate, Research Immediate Office
615.327.6225
ygandulla@mmc.edu

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The speed at which translational research impacts population health depends heavily on whether the work is disseminated and incorporated by clinical or health service efforts.

 

In turn, dissemination and incorporation efforts are influenced by the appropriateness and accuracy of the research design and analysis, as well the degree to which implementation is ethically sound.

 

Therefore, our mission is to develop and provide strong support in research design, biostatistics, and clinical research ethics for Meharry translational research investigators.

 

Our Specific Aims are:

 

Specific Aim 1: Strengthen all aspects of translational research design, biostatistical analysis, and clinical research ethics through consultations

 

Specific Aim 2: Provide key seminars related to translational research design, biostatistics, and clinical research ethics

 

More information here.

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

The mission of the Meharry Technologies and Resources for Core Laboratories is to provide services, computer resources, support, and training both inside and outside of the Meharry research community. Our goal is to ensure that all interested scientists are able to access and utilize state-of-the-art technologies for Protoemics, Mass Spectrometry, Imaging Analysis, Bioinformatics, and other data intensive applications. We strive to keep our facility up to date computationally and intellectually with services to support education and research in proteomics, bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology.

 

Our goals are to serve a broad research community and significantly enhance translational and clinical research at Meharry Medical College. We are committed to developing novel diagnostics and therapeutic interventions.

 

The Specific Aims of the Technologies and Resources for Core Laboratories are:

 

To develop a Proteomics Core Facility to expand and support Meharry’s clinical and translational research activitiesTo develop collaborations and partnerships inside and outside of Meharry Medical College that accelerates clinical and translational research, with the common link being the reliance on state-of-the-art proteomics strategies.

 

More information here.

Supported by the National Institute on Minority Health And Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number U54 MD0007593

research photo

The Meharry Clinical and Translational Research Center (MeTRC) grant funds two of Meharry’s core facilities, the Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource and the Meharry Proteomics Core.

The Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource

The Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource, known as PCIR, helps researchers execute their clinical studies. Conducting clinical trials is beyond the scope of most grants; however, the PCIR helps scientists design their studies, locate research subjects, conduct their studies, collect samples, and submit documentation. A specially certified nursing staff who are knowledgeable about researchers’ protocols carry studies to their conclusion.

The Meharry Proteomics Core

Our Proteomics Core aids investigators and trainees with high performance computation in proteomics, as well as other “omics” type applications needing efficient analysis of large-scale biological data sets. The ability to incorporate proteomics into translational and clinical biomedical research is critical for the discovery of therapeutic interventions and high fidelity biomarkers of disease and response to therapy. The Proteomics Core provides state-of-the-art services, training, and bioinformatics-driven data analysis to the Meharry translational research community.

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

Community Engagement

The Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC) and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) have united to offer research expertise to the community. The Meharry-Vanderbilt Community Engaged Research Core (CERC) builds partnerships and adds the scientific element to community work groups. Through workshops/training, consultation, mini-grants, educational material, and use of core facilities, the CERC is working one-on-one with communities to improve citizen health and broaden neighbors’ health knowledge. For more information, contact the CERC at 615.936.2565 or cerc@vanderbilt.edu.

Regulatory Support

The goal of MeTRC is to reduce investigators’ administrative burden and improve participant safety and regulatory compliance through process standardization, information technology, and other services to investigators and clinical research personnel. In partnership with VICTR, MeTRC has made available to researchers a knowledge base of regulatory matters and created a one-stop-shop (the StarBRITE tool) that helps them navigate through complex, interdisciplinary projects. It has also enhanced Meharry’s clinical research function with the patient advocacy and experiment-design functions now available in the Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource (PCIR). If you have questions about regulatory support at Meharry, contact PCIR at 615.327.5725.

Research Design Ethics

In tandem with the Office of Participant and Clinical Interaction Resource, MeTRC makes available to researchers the expertise of CITI-trained clinical research staff, and investigators at Meharry, both newcomers and seasoned professionals, will find time- and labor-saving guidance in the creation of their clinical trials. Contact the PCIR at 615.327.5725 for assistance.

Project Evaluation

As medicine has evolved from stethoscopes to PET scans, laboratory research has evolved from test tubes to fluorescent microsopy. The sophistication of today’s research environment is therefore narrowly competitive. MeTRC research projects are therefore narrowly examined for competitive advantage. Using rigorous study design and a refined logic model that incorporates multiple data collection points, MeTRC assesses projects’ indicators, milestones, tools and study design, key function reports, and more. Successful grants beget yet more grants; MeTRC’s evaluation function crosses the T’s and dots the I’s so that researchers are knowledgeable, projects are effective, and research translates to cures.

RCMI R-Centers

Meharry Medical College
Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC)
Website: Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC)

University of Hawaii
RCMI Multidisciplinary And Translational Research Infrastructure eXpansion (RMATRIX)
Website: https://rmatrix.jabsom.hawaii.edu

Charles Drew University
Accelerating Excellence in Science (AXIS)
Website: https://www.drew-axis.org

Morehouse School of Medicine
RCMI Center of Excellence for Clinical and Translational Research (RCTR)
Website: https://www.msm.edu

University of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Clinical and Translational Research Consortium (PRCTRC)
Website: https://prctrc.rcm.upr.edu

Newsletters

The following newsletters are from the RCMI Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research (RCTR) Newsletter

RCTR Collaboration Volume 3 Number 1 (October 23, 2013): RCTR Collaboration newsletter in PDF format.
Collaboration_v3_n1.pdf

RCTR Collaboration Volume 2 Number 2 (November 1, 2012): Eighth issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v2_n2.pdf

RCTR Collaboration Volume 2 Number 1 (July 1, 2012): Seventh issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v2_n1.pdf

RCTR Collaboration Volume 1 Number 6 (May 1, 2012): Sixth issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v1_n6.pdf

RCTR Collaboration Volume 1 Number 5 (February 13, 2012): Fifth issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v1_n5.pdf

RCTR Collaboration Volume 1 Number 4 (November 1, 2011): Fourth issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v1_n4.pdf

RCTR Collaboration Volume 1 Number 3 (September 1, 2011): Third issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v1_n3.pdf (size: 3145664 bytes)

RCTR Collaboration Volume 1 Number 2 (July 1, 2011): Second issue of a newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v1_n2.pdf (size: 11470313 bytes)

RCTR Collaboration Volume 1 Number 1 (May 1, 2011): First issue of a new newsletter focused on accomplishments by NCRR RCTR awardee institutions.
Collaboration_v1_n1.pdf (size: 6094220 bytes)

[1] S. T. Pellom Jr., D. F. Dudimah, and A. Shanker
“Effects of bortezomib administration on cytokine secretion, signaling, and function in breast cancer”
Presented at the 6th Annual AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, Atlanta, GA, 2013

 

[2] D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, A. Biktasova, D. P. Carbone, M. M. Dikov, and A. Shanker
“Cancer Therapy by Resuscitating Immune Surveillance”
Presented at the 6th Annual AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, Atlanta, GA 2013

 

[3] A. Shanker, D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, A. Biktasova, D. P. Carbone, and M. M. Dikov
“Cancer Therapy by Restoration of Immune Notch”
Presented at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting, National Harbor, MD, 2013

 

[4] A. Shanker
“Cancer therapy by resuscitating immune surveillance”
Presented at the Immunology Summit 2013, Las Vegas, NV, 2013

 

[5] A. Sakwe
“Profiling of genes associated with sustained high calcium adaptation of invasive breast cancer cells”
Presented at the Third AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research, National Harbor, MD, 2013

 

[6] D. J. Alcendor
“Racial Disparities in Bacterial Vaginosis and Associated Risks for HIV-1 Acquisition”
Presented at the 2013 United States Conference on AIDS, New Orleans, LA, 2013

 

[7] P. N. Nde, C. A. Johnson, Y. Y. Kleshchenko, O. A. Ikejiani, A. N. Udoko, T. C. Cardenas, S. Pratap, M. A. Duquette, M. F. Lima, J. Lawler, and F. Villalta
“The role of TSP1 in T. cruzi infection”
Presented at the Science Research Conference: Matricellular Proteins in Development, Health, and Disease, Saxtons River, Vermont, 2013

 

[8] V. Pensabene, D. Alcendor, D. Janigro, J. Sung, V. Allwardt, P. Schaffer, P. Samson, S. Crowder, C. Ghosh, N. Marchi, M. Deblock, K. Kopin, and J. Wikswo
“How to create a selective permeable blood-brain barrier (BBB) in a neurovascular unit-on-a-chip”
Presented at the DARPA/NCATS Microphysiological Systems Investigators Meeting, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, 2013

 

[9] T. Rana, R. J. Hasan, S. Nowicki, M. S. Venkatarajan, R. Singh, P. T. Urvil, V. Popov, W. A. Braun, W. Popik, J. S. Goodwin, and B. J. Nowicki
“Complement Protective Epitopes and CD55-Microtubule Complexes Facilitate the Invasion and Intracellular Persistence of Uropathogenic E. coli”
Presented at the Clinical and Scientific Advances in Urinary Tract Infections Conference, International Symposium, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 2013

 

[10] S. Nowicki, T. Rana, R. Singh, and B. Nowicki
“Glucocorticoid as a new therapeutic approach against invasive Dr + E. coli causing chronic pyelonephritis”
Presented at the Clinical and Scientific Advances in Urinary Tract Infections Conference, International Symposium, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 2013

 

[11] C. Wang, C. Timmons, H. Liu, and B. Liu
“GB Virus Type C E2 Protein Interferes with HIV-1 Gag Plasma Membrane Targeting Through Inducing ADP-Ribosylation Factors 1 Degradation”
Presented at the Structural Biology Related to HIV/AIDS, Bethesda, MD, 2013

 

[12] W. Popik
“APOL1 restricts HIV-1 by stimulating endocytic trafficking and targeting HIV-1 Gag for lysosomal degradation”
Presented at the CSHL Retroviruses Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 2013

 

[13] T. Nayyar, F. Alam, W. Richie, T. Ansah, and R. Bailey
“Reduction in peripheral blood beta arrestin1 levels during major depressive disorder in reproductive women”
Presented at the Experimental Biology Conference, Boston, MA., 2013

 

[14] A. C. Johnson, Y. Y. Kleshchenko, O. A. Ikejiani, A. N. Udoko, T. C. Cardenas, S. Pratap, M. A. Duquette, M. F. Lima, J. Lawler, F. Villalta, and P. N. Nde
“Trypanosoma cruzi surface calreticulin interacts with host thrombospondin-1 to enhance cellular infection”
Presented at the Tenth Calreticulin Workshop, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 2013

 

[15] D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, S. T. Pellom Jr., A. Biktasova, M. M. Dikov, D. P. Carbone, and A. Shanker
“Resuscitating Immune Surveillance in Cancer”
Presented at the AACR annual Conference, Washington DC, 2013

 

[16] S. T. Pellom Jr., D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, and A. Shanker
“Defining the effects of bortezomib on tumor microenvironment”
Presented at Meharry Medical College Student Research Day – 2013

 

[17] C. Ghosh, N. Marchi, J. Wikswo, M. Deblock, D. J. Alcendor, and D. Janigro “Humans on-a-Chip, Optimization of the Human Neurovascular Unit In Vitro Model”
Presented at the DARPA/NCATS Microphysiological Systems Investigators Meeting, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, 2013

 

[18] R. V. Uzhachenko and A. Shanker
“T cell-dependent mitochondrial activity of anti-tumor NK cells”
Presented at the Annual Meharry- Vanderbilt- Tennessee State University (MVT) Cancer Partnership Retreat, Nashville, TN, 2013

 

[19] D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, S. T. Pellom Jr., A. Biktasova, M. M. Dikov, D. P. Carbone, and A. Shanker
“Resuscitating Immune Surveillance in Cancer”
Presented at the Annual Meharry- Vanderbilt- Tennessee State University (MVT) Cancer Partnership Retreat, Nashville, TN, 2013

 

[20] S. T. Pellom Jr., D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, and A. Shanker
“Bortezomib modulates cytokine/chemokine profile in tumor microenvironment” Presented at the Annual Meharry- Vanderbilt- Tennessee State University (MVT) Cancer Partnership Retreat, Nashville, TN, 2013

 

[21] P. D. Thompson, A. Sakwe, J. Ochieng, S. Pratap, and D. R. Marshall
“The α2-HeremansSchmid glycoprotein (AHSG) promotes growth in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)”
Conference Paper in BMC Bioinformatics, 2013, vol. 14, p. A7

 

[22] S. Nowicki, R. Goldblum, J. Mestechy, J. Bienenstock, M. Lamm, L. Mayer, J. McGhee, and W. Strober
“Amniotic Fluid and the Fetal Mucosal Immune System”
Book Section in Muscosal Immunology, 2013

 

[23] D. Marshall, S. Pratap, J. Dong, G. Rogers, and L. Dent
“Genomic and proteomic characterization of multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii”
Conference Paper in BMC Bioinformatics, 2013, vol. 14, p. A22

 

[24] A. Addai, J. Pandhare, C. Mantri, and C. Dash
“Cocaine enhances HIV-1 integration in CD4+ T cells by altering the epigenetic DNA signatures”
Presented at the Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) Conference, San Diego, CA, 2013

 

[25] A. Addai, J. Pandhare, C. Mantri, and C. Dash
“Cocaine enhances HIV-1 integration in CD4+ T cells by altering the epigenetic DNA signatures”
Presented at the Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroimmunopharmacology, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2013

 

[26] S. J. Goodwin, T. Patel, and H. Khoshbouei
“Psychostimulants affect the dopamine transporter lateral mobility and membrane microdomain distribution”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[27] T. Nayyar, K. Golden, W. Richie, T. Ansah, and R. Bailey
“Beta arrestin-1 levels in leukocytes and depression in women”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[28] A. R. Chaudhry, W. Khoder, A. Small, S. M. Knobel, and D. J. Alcendor “Vaginal epithelium extracellular matrix expression profiles from women of diverse ethnicity with pelvic organ prolapse: implications for racial disparities in POP”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Hubbard Hospital, 2012

 

[29] D. Robertson, J. Southerland, and R. Davis
“Impairment of Vascular Nitric Oxide in African-AmericanWomen”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[30] T. Rana, S. Nowicki, R. Singh, and B. Nowicki
“Novel strategy for the non-antibiotic treatment of persistant intracellular infection: microtubule depolymerizing agents eliminate intracellular E. coli”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[31] M. G. Izban, B. J. Nowicki, and S. Nowicki
“Vitamin D3 promotes NF-κB-dependent expression of CD55 in monocytes”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[32] A. Hendy, A. Venkateswaram, R. S. Konjeti, G. Reddy, and G. Haddad
“Role of Estradiol-17beta and Vitamin D in Vascular Nitric Oxide Synthase and CGRP Receptor Expression”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[33] A. Shanker and R. V. Uzhachenko
“T Cell-dependent Anti-tumor Activity of NK Cells”
Presented as a Conference Paper at Society for Immunotherapy Annual Meeting, Washington DC, 2012, vol. 35, p. 759

 

[34] S. Pratap, M. T. Perry, N. Boukli, I. Almeida, T. Dye, S. Garner, and M. Powell
“Creation Of A Proteomics and Informatics Collaborative Group to Enhance Biomedical Research at Ethnically Diverse Institutions”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[35] S. Pratap, D. R. Marshall, and L. Dent
“Comparative Genomics of Multi-Drug Resistant Acinetobacter Baumanii at Nashville General Hospital @ Meharry Medical College”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[36] R. V. Uzhachenko and A. Shanker
“T cell-dependent mitochondrial activity of anti-tumor NK cells”
Presented at the 12th Annual Host-Tumor Interactions Program & Department of Cancer Biology Retreat, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, 2012

 

[37] S. T. Pellom Jr., D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, and A. Shanker
“Defining the effects of bortezomib on tumor microenvironment”
Presented at the 12th Annual Host-Tumor Interactions Program & Department of Cancer Biology Retreat, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, 2012

 

[38] D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, S. T. Pellom Jr., A. Biktasova, M. M. Dikov, D. P. Carbone, and A. Shanker
“Resuscitating Immune Surveillance in Cancer”
Presented at the 12th annual Host-Tumor Interactions Program & Department of Cancer Biology Retreat, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, 2012

 

[39] S. T. Pellom Jr., D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, and A. Shanker
“Defining the effects of bortezomib on tumor microenvironment”
Presented at the 42nd Annual meeting of the Autumn Immunology Conference, Chicago, IL, 2012

 

[40] S. J. Goodwin, S. Kustuv, T. Patel, and H. Khoshbouei
“Unlike amphetamine-exposed transporter the methamphetamine exposed transporter is fully responsive to consecutive drug application”
Presented at the 45th Annual Meeting for the Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA, 2012

 

[41] D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, S. T. Pellom Jr., A. Biktasova, M. M. Dikov, D. P. Carbone, and A. Shanker
“Resuscitating Immune Surveillance in Cancer”
Presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the Autumn Immunology Conference, Chicago, IL, 2012

 

[42] A. C. Johnson, Y. Y. Kleshchenko, O. A. Ikejiani, T. C. Cardenas, S. Pratap, M. A. Duquette, M. F. Lima, J. Lawler, F. Villalta, and P. N. Nde
“Thrombospondin-1 interacts with Trypanosoma cruzi surface protein to enhance cellular infection”
Presented at the American Society for Matrix Biology & American Society for Glycobiology Meeting, San Diego, 2012

 

[43] D. F. Dudimah, R. V. Uzhachenko, S. T. Pellom Jr., A. Biktasova, M. M. Dikov, D. P. Carbone, and A. Shanker
“Resuscitating cancer immunosurveillance by combining Notch 1 and death receptor activating therapy”
Presented at the Fifth AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, San Diego, CA, 2012

 

[44] M. Hall, S. M. Knobel, A. R. Chaudhry, and D. J. Alcendor
“The effects of BV bacteria on vaginal epithelium HIV infectivity: Implications for mechanisms linked to health disparities in HIV/AIDS”
Presented at the Vanderbilt Vascular Biology Retreat: Training Grant in Mechanisms of Vascular Disease, Joelton, TN, 2012

 

[45] D. J. Alcendor, I. Wilkerson, S. M. Knobel, and N. Sheibani
“Retinal Pericytes and Cytomegalovirus Infectivity: Implications for both CMV Induced Retinopathy and Congenital Ocular Disease”
Presented at the Vanderbilt Vascular Biology Retreat: Training Grant in Mechanisms of Vascular Disease, Joelton, TN, 2012

 

[46] A. R. Chaudhry, A. Small, S. M. Knobel, W. Khoder, G. Ladson, G. Richard-Davis, and D. J. Alcendor
“Vaginal epithelium extra-cellular matrix expression profiles from women of diverse ethnicity with pelvic organ prolapse: Implications for racial Disparities in POP”
Presented at the American Urogynecological Society (AUGS) 33rd Annual Scientific meeting, Chicago, IL, 2012

 

[47] L. Ricks-Santi, T. Dye, Z. Hammatt, and S. Pratap
“Sharing a Model Consent Form to Increase Enrollment of Ethnically Diverse Populations in Research and Biospecimen Repositories”
Conference Paper in Biopreservation and Biobanking, 2012, vol. 10, pp. 297–331

 

[48] A. Shanker, A. Malhotra, M. M. Dikov, A. Biktasova, T. J. Sayers, and D. P. Carbone
“Enhancing cancer immunotherapy by combining Notch 1 and death receptor activation”
Presented as a Conference Paper in the Journal of Immunology, 2012, vol. 188:46.38

 

[49] W. Popik
“Potent inhibition of HIV-1 biogenesis by apolipoprotein L1”
Presented at the CSHL Retroviruses Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 2012

 

[50] A. Sakwe, R. Koumangoye, and J. Ochieng
“Sustained hypercalcemia primes non-invasive breast cancer cells for metastasis to high calcium microenvironments”
Presented at the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2012

 

[51] R. Singh, T. Rana, B. Nowicki, and S. Nowicki
“Glucocorticoid And CD55: Missing Link Between Stress And Infertility” Presented at the 9th Annual James Research Symposium, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, 2012

 

[52] A. C. Johnson, Y. Y. Kleshchenko, O. A. Ikejiani, T. C. Cardenas, S. Pratap, M. A. Duquette, M. F. Lima, J. Lawler, F. Villalta, and P. N. Nde “Thrombospondin-1 interacts with Trypanosoma cruzi surface calreticulin to enhance cellular invasion”
Presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Experimental Biology (ASBMB), San Diego CA, 2012

 

[53] A. Shanker, A. Malhotra, M. M. Dikov, A. Biktasova, T. J. Sayers, and D. P. Carbone
“Enhancing cancer immunotherapy by combining Notch 1 and death receptor activation”
Presented at the International Conference on Advances in Biological Sciences: Session on Advances in Medical Biotechnology, Department of Biotechnology and Microbiology, Kannur University, 2012

 

[54] C. Timmons, Q. Shao, C. Wang, H. Wei, H. Liu, and B. Liu
“The Expression of GBV-C Envelope E2 Protein Inhibits HIV-1 Assembly and Release”
Presented at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infectious, Seattle, WA, 2012

 

[55] T. Rana, S. Nowicki, R. Singh, and B. Nowicki
“Chronic Pyelonephritis in Pregnancy: Intracellular Survival and Persistence of the Gestational Pathogen Dr+ E. coli.”
Presented at the Society for Gynecologic Investigation (SGI) Annual Scientific Meeting, 2012

 

[56] A. Shanker
“Lymphocyte Teamwork in Tumor Rejection,” in Prospects in Bioscience: Addressing the Issues, A. Sabu and A. Augustine, Eds. India: Springer India, 2012, pp. 411–413

 

[57] T. Rana, S. Nowicki, R. Singh, and B. Nowicki
“Identification of CD55 Residues that Facilitate Invasion & Intracellular Persistance of the Gestational Pathogen Dr+ E. coli.”
Presented at the 9th Annual James Research Symposium, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, 2012

 

[58] M. Powell, N. Boukli, I. Almeida, T. Perry, T. Dye, and S. Pratap
“Creation of a Proteomics and Informatics Collaborative Group to Enhance Biomedical Research at Ethnically Diverse Institutions: ABRF”
Presented as a Conference Paper in the Journal of Biomolecular Techniques, 2012, vol. 23, pp. s51–s52

 

[59] D. Marshall, J. Dong, L. Dent, and S. Pratap
“The antibiotic resistance proteome of Acinetobacter baumanii MDR isolate MMC#4”
Presented as a Conference Paper in BMC Bioinformatics, 2012, vol. 13, p. A20

 

[60] C. A. Johnson, A. N. Udoko, T. C. Cardenas, S. Pratap, C. Taylor, G. Rachackonda, M. F. Lima, J. Lawler, F. Villalta, and P. N. Nde
“Trypanosoma cruzi induces fibrotic genes early in heart cells”
Presented at the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2012

 

[61] A. C. Johnson, Y. Y. Kleshchenko, O. A. Ikejiani, T. C. Cardenas, S. Pratap, M. A. Duquette, M. F. Lima, J. Lawler, F. Villalta, and P. N. Nde
“Thrombospondin-1 interacts with Trypanosoma cruzi surface calreticulin to enhance cellular invasion”
Presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting, 2012

 

[62] S. Akohoue
“Improving Diabetes Self-Management in Low-Income Women: Preliminary Results from a Pilot Study”
Presented at the 2012 Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit, National Harbor, MD, 2012

 

[63] A. Addai and C. Dash
“Proteomics analysis of HIV-1 preintegration complexes”
Presented at the 53rd Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) conference, San Diego, California, 2012

 

[64] S. Nowicki, T. Rana, R. Singh, and B. J. Nowicki
“Dexametasone down-regulates DAF and decrease intracellular survival of Dr+ E. coli.”
Presented at the 5th International Complement Therapeutics Conference, Greece, 2011

 

[65] B. J. Nowicki, T. Rana, R. Singh, and S. Nowicki
“Identification of DAF Residues which facilitate intracellular multiplication of Dr+ E. coli.”
Presented at the 5th International Complement Therapeutics Conference, Rhodes, Greece, 2011

 

[66] S. Nowicki, R. Singh, T. Rana, K. Osteen, B. Jarnagin, and B. Nowicki “Glucocorticoid and CD55: Missing Link between Stress and Infertility”
Presented at the 1st Congress for Gynecology and Fertility-Israel-Poland (GOFIP), 2011

 

[67] B. Nowicki, E. Pawelczyk, M. G. Izban, S. Pratap, and S. Nowicki
“Preterm Labor is Associated with an Increase in the Proinflammatory Signal Transducer TLR4 Receptor on Maternal Blood Monocytes-Novel Diagnostic Test” Presented at the 1st Congress for Gynecology and Fertility-Israel-Poland (GOFIP), 2011

 

[68] B. Nowicki, K. Wroblewska-Seniuk, C. Yallam, C. Le Bouguénec, and S. Nowicki
“The role of nitric oxide in intrauterine gestational infection caused by Dr/Afa positive E. coli.”
Presented at the 1st Congress for Gynecology and Fertility Israel-Poland (GOFIP), 2011

 

[69] S. Nowicki, S. Pratap, M. G. Izban, and B. Nowicki
“CD55 in Maternal Blood Monocytes as a Molecular Predictor for Preterm Labor and Delivery”
Presented at the International Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology-USA (IIDSOG-USA), Weill Cornell Medical College, NY, 2011

 

[70] S. J. Goodwin, T. Patel, and H. Khoshbouei
“Dopamine transporter recruits alpha-synuclein to the plasma membrane and cotrafficks”
Presented at the Experimental Biology, Washington, DC, 2011

 

[71] C. Timmons and B. Liu
“GBV-C Envelope Glcoprotein E2 Inhibits HIV-1 Assembly”
Presented at the 1st UTEP Symposium Infectious Diseases and Health Disparities in a Changing World, 2011

 

[72] L. Dent, N. Ismail, S. Robinson, G. Rogers, S. Pratap, and D. Marshall “Next-gen sequencing of multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumanii at Nashville General Hospital at Meharry”
Presented Conference Paper in BMC Bioinformatics, 2011, vol. 12 suppl 7, p. A14

 

[73] A. Addai and C. Dash
“Proteomics analysis of HIV-1 preintegration complexes. MMC Research Day 2011”
Presented at the Research Day Presentation, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, 2011

 

[74] A. Addai and C. Dash
“Proteomics analysis of HIV-1 preintegration complexes”
Presented at the Meharry Translation Research Center Open House, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, 2011

 

[75] D. J. Alcendor, C. N. Marrs, S. M. Knobel, S. D. Sweet, W. Q. Zhu, and A. R. Chaudhry
“Racial disparities in bacterial vaginosis and its influence on HIV-1 acquisition” Presented at the 10th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, “Bridging the Gap between Disparity and Equity: New Minds — New Methods” Nashville, TN, 2010

 

[76] D. J. Alcendor, A. M. Charest, S. M. Knobel, and Q. W. Zhu
“Infection and upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines in brain vascular pericytes by human cytomegalovirus”
Presented at the 10th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, “Bridging the Gap between Disparity and Equity: New Minds — New Methods” Nashville, TN, 2010

 

[77] C. Timmons and B. Liu
“GBV-C E2 Inhibits HIV-1 Assembly”
Presented at the 12th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, Nashville, TN, 2010

 

[78] C. Hanson, S. J. Goodwin, J. Swant, T. Patel, A. Kenworthy, and H. Khoshbouei
“The dynamic interaction between α-synuclein and dopamine transporter” Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting for the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, 2010

 

[79] S. J. Goodwin, C. Hanson, T. Patel, J. Swant, and H. Khoshbouei
“Dopamine Transporter recruits α-synuclein to the plasma membrane”
Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting for the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, 2010

 

[80] A. Fennell, J. Gamble-George, J. Swant, M. Ferguson, S. J. Goodwin, T. Patel, T. A. Ansah, and H. Khoshbouei
“The pattern of methamphetamine exposure determines its mnemonic consequences”
Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting for the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, 2010

 

[81] S. Nowicki and B. Nowicki
“Downregulation of TLR4 Receptor-New Immunosuppresive Transcriptional Target for Glucocorticoid”
Presented at the 3rd Latin American Congress on Autoimmunity, Buenos Aires, 2010

 

[82] J. Gamble-George, A. Fennell, J. Swant, and S. J. Goodwin
“Discontinuous and Continuous Methamphetamine Exposures Have Distinct Molecular Targets”
Presented at the 2010 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), Tampa, FL, 2010

 

[83] L. Dent, D. Marshall, R. Hulette, and S. Pratap
“Next-gen sequencing of multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii to determine antibiotic resistance genotypes”
Presented as a Conference Paper in BMC Bioinformatics, 2010, vol. 11 Suppl 16, p. 16

 

[84] D. J. Alcendor, H. E. Vigil, and W. Q. Zhu
“Pericytes and HIV Neuropathology”
Presented at the 8th Annual Research Symposium in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2010

 

[85] D. J. Alcendor, C. N. Marrs, A. R. Chaudhry, S. D. Sweet, and W. Zhu
“Racial Disparities in Bacterial Vaginosis and its Influence on HIV-1 Acquisition” Presented at the 8th Annual Research Symposium in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, 2010

 

[86] C. Hanson, S. J. Goodwin, A. Kenworthy, and H. Khoshbouei
“Alpha-synuclein transiently interacts with the dopamine transporter”
Presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, 2009

 

[87] S. J. Goodwin, T. Patel, A. Kenworthy, and H. Khoshbouei
“Psychostimulants Affect the Dopamine Transporter Lateral Mobility and Membrane Microdomain Distribution”
Presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, 2009

 

[88] S. Chirwa, S. J. Goodwin, J. Swant, and H. Khoshbouei
“A-synuclein interactation with the dopamine transporter stimulates a transporter mediated Cl- current”
Presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, 2009

 

[89] D. J. Alcendor, H. E. Vigil, and W. Q. Zhu
“Pericytes and HIV Neuropathology”
Presented at the HIV Prevention Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2009

 

[90] D. J. Alcendor, C. N. Marrs, S. D. Sweet, and W. Q. Zhu
“Racial Disparities in Bacterial Vaginosis and its Influence on HIV-1 Acquisition” Presented at the HIV Prevention Conference,Atlanta, GA, 2009

 

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.

1.  An effective molecular vaccine for Chagas heart disease was generated by a collaborative effort between MeTRC investigators at Meharry Medical College and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

 

This molecular vaccine was discovered via a collaborative effort involving: Dr. Pius Nde (a previously funded METRC Pilot Project PI) who utilized the MeTRC/RCMI Morphology Core (directed by Dr. Shawn Goodwin), in collaboration with the MeTRC Bioinformatics Core (directed by Dr. Sidd Pratap), as well as the laboratory of Dr. Fernando Villalta, (Co-Director of METRC Pilot Projects), and Dr. Quiana Mathews from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  In addition, postdoctoral scientists at both Meharry and UAB participated.  This discovery resulted in the following publication which actually made the cover page of the issue:

 

Farrow AL, Rachakonda G, Gu L, Krendelchtchikova V, Nde PN, Pratap S, Lima MF, Villalta F*, Matthews QL. 2014. Immunization with hexon modified adenoviral vectors integrated with gp83 epitope provides protection against Trypanosoma cruzi infection. PLoS. Negl. Trop.Dis. 8:e3089. PMC4140675. *Corresponding Author

 

https://www.plosntds.org/article/browse/issue/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fissue.pntd.v08.i08

 

Furthermore, this discovery generated a picture that was selected as the “Biomedical Picture of the Day” by the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, UK.  It was photographed in the MeTRC/RCMI Morphology Core. See the following link:

 

https://bpod.mrc.ac.uk/archive/2014/10/13

 

Significance of the study

 

Chagasdisease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by blood-sucking triatomine insects affects 8 million people in Latin America causing significant morbidity and mortality. Chagas disease, which was once thought to be confined to endemic regions of Latin America, has now gone global due to human migration, becoming a new worldwide challenge with no vaccines nor effective drug available. Currently, 2-7 million Hispanics with Chagas disease live in North America, posing significant health disparity.  Insect vectors have been reported in 43 US states and the disease is now endemic to Central and South Texas and exists there as a zoonosis. As a zoonosis, Chagas disease has proven to be a serious threat to military working dogs, decreasing military operational effectiveness in San Antonio, TX. We used a novel strategy using adenovirus vectors delivering a T. cruzi neutralizing epitope expressed on the invasive forms of the parasite that is highly conserved among strains of T. cruzi to immunized animal modes of Chagas disease with success.  The results from this study indicate that the vaccine induced significant protection and elicited neutralizing antibodies that blocked the infection.  We conclude that the neutralizing T. cruzi epitope is an essential epitope in the development of an effective molecular vaccine for Chagas disease.

 

Based on the collaborative studies between both institutions, an NIAID RO1 grant entitled “Novel Adenovirus-Based Chagas Vaccines” was submitted to NIH with two PIs, one from Meharry and the other from the UAB.

2.   Oral Presentation from a MeTRC investigator at two important Scientific Meetings

 

a)    Dr. Alcendor was recently invited as a distinguished speaker and panelist to the 7th Annual Ocular Disease and Drug Discovery Conference in San Diego on March 19-20, 2015 in San Diego, CA.  This conference is known to showcase novel targets and innovative technologies impacting ocular disease. He will present his latest research published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation on “Retinal Pericytes” that was original funded as a Meharry MeTRC pilot grant.

 

b)    In addition, Dr. Alcendor’s research findings were selected for an oral presentation at the distinguished Gordon Conference (Barriers of the CNS) held in New London, New Haven on June 15-20, 2014. His presentation was entitled “Retinal pericytes of the inner blood retinal barrier and cytomegalovirus infectivity: Implications for both CMV induced retinopathy and congenital ocular disease. Dr. Alcendor was also awarded with a Travel Award to give an oral presentation at the meeting. This presentation is a collaborative effort between Meharry and Vanderbilt scientists.

3.   Members of the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research, who were supported by MeTRC Research Pilot Projects, have made significant advancements with regard to the understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS infections.

 

The scientists listed below have elucidated the roles of critical HIV-1 and host molecules that participate in the process of HIV infection, the mechanisms involved in the pathogen/host interface, and the molecular basis of pathology of drug abuse in HIV infection.  These studies are significant because they have identified new targets for intervention.  These significant developments will facilitate new treatments for HIV/AIDS patients.  Moreover, it will help with the management of HIV/AIDS in drug-abusing patients. Below, we briefly indicate their key discoveries and the publications associated with their studies.

 

3.1  Dr. CV Dash.  Dr. Dash has significantly advanced the understanding of how cocaine and methamphetamine act in HIV infection. These studies are significant because they have implications in HIV-1 pathogenesis in drug-abusing patients.  Additionally, these studies are advancing the understanding of the pathology caused by HIV- positive patients abusing drugs.  The goal is to develop better strategies to manage HIV infection in drug-abusing patients.  Dr. Dash’s laboratory has discovered that cocaine regulates HIV-integration in primary CD4+ T cells, induces CD4+ T cell apoptosis, and enhances HIV replication in CD4+ T cells by down regulating MiR-125b. These important discoveries resulted in the following 4 recent publications:

 

a)    Cocaine modulates HIV-1 integration in primary CD4+ T cells: implications in HIV-1 pathogenesis in drug-abusing patients. Addai AB, Pandhare J, Paromov V, Mantri CK, Pratap S, Dash C. J Leukoc Biol. 2015 Feb 17. pii: jlb.4A0714-356R. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25691383 (PMCID in process)

 

b)    Cocaine enhances HIV-1-induced CD4(+) T-cell apoptosis: implications in disease progression in cocaine-abusing HIV-1 patients. Pandhare J, Addai AB, Mantri CK, Hager C, Smith RM, Barnett L, Villalta F, Kalams SA, Dash C. Am J Pathol. 2014 Apr;184(4):927-36. Epub 2014 Jan 31.PMID: 24486327; PMCID: PMC3970001

 

c)    Methamphetamine inhibits HIV-1 replication in CD4+ T cells by modulating anti-HIV-1 miRNA expression. Mantri CK, Mantri JV, Pandhare J, Dash C. Am J Pathol. 2014 Jan;184(1):92-100. PMID: 24434277; PMCID: PMC3873480

 

d)    Cocaine enhances HIV-1 replication in CD4+ T cells by down-regulating MiR-125b. Mantri CK, Pandhare Dash J, Mantri JV, Dash C. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51387. PMID: 23251514; PMCID: PMC3520918

 

3.2  Dr. Bindong Liu.  Dr. Liu’s laboratory has discovered two novel approaches which are important to inhibiting HIV replication. His group has discovered that a molecule from an oral bacteria Streptococcus cristatus, which is part of the normal oral flora, induces APOBEC3 expression to actually inhibit HIV-1 replication. This discovery is significant because the new bacterial molecule will be used as a new treatment for HIV infection. In his second important discovery, he found that an E2 protein of the GB virus Type C inhibits HIV-1 assembly through interference with HIV-1 gag plasma membrane.  This discovery is significant because it has the potential to be used as a new treatment for HIV infection. In addition, he has discovered that the passage of HIV through vaginal epithelia cells is dependent on trafficking to the endocytic-recycling pathway.  This study is significant because it documents that manipulating the endocytic recycling pathway is important to prevent vaginal HIV infection. These important discoveries resulted in the following 3 recent publications:

 

a)    Heat-stable molecule derived from Streptococcus cristatus induces APOBEC3 expression and inhibits HIV-1 replication. Wang Z, Luo Y, Shao Q, Kinlock BL, Wang C, Hildreth JE, Xie H, Liu B. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 28;9(8):e106078.  PMID: 25165817; PMCID: PMC4148350.

 

b)    Transcytosis of HIV-1 through vaginal epithelial cells is dependent on trafficking to the endocytic recycling pathway. Kinlock BL, Wang Y, Turner TM, Wang C, Liu B. PLoS One. 2014 May 15;9(5):e96760. PMID: 24830293; PMCID: PMC4022679.

 

c)    GB virus type C E2 protein inhibits human immunodeficiency virus type 1 assembly through interference with HIV-1 gag plasma membrane targeting. Timmons CL, Shao Q, Wang C, Liu L, Liu H, Dong X, Liu B. J Infect Dis. 2013 Apr;207(7):1171-80.  PMID: 23303812; PMCID: PMC3583272.

 

3.3  Dr. Waldemar Popik.  Dr. Popik’s laboratory has discovery that the innate immune factor apolipoprotein L1 inhibits HIV-1 replication by multiple mechanisms.  His group found that the APOL1 protein targeted HIV-1 Gag for degradation by the endolysosomal pathway.  They found that APOL1 stimulated both endocytosis and lysosomal biogenesis by promoting nuclear localization of transcription factor EB (TFEB) and expression of TFEB target genes. Moreover, they demonstrated that APOL1 depletes the cellular viral accessory protein Vif, which counteracts the host restriction factor APOBEC3G, via a pathway involving degradation of Vif in lysosomes and by secretion of Vif in microvesicles. As a result of Vif depletion by APOL1, APOBEC3G was not degraded and reduced infectivity of progeny virions. In support of this model, Dr. Popik’s group also showed that endogenous expression of APOL1 in differentiated U937 monocytic cells stimulated with IFN-γ resulted in a reduced production of virus particles. This finding supports the hypothesis that induction of APOL1 contributes to HIV-1 suppression in differentiated monocytes. This study is significant because deciphering the precise mechanism of APOL1-mediated HIV-1 restriction may facilitate the design of unique therapeutics to target HIV-1 replication. This crucial discovery resulted in the following recent publication:

 

a)    The innate immune factor apolipoprotein L1 restricts HIV-1 infection. Taylor HE, Khatua AK, Popik W. J Virol. 2014 Jan;88(1):592-603. PMID: 24173214; PMCID: PMC3911732.

 

3.4  Dr. Xinhong Dong. Dr. Dong’s lab has elucidated the mechanism of HIV-1 particle release. His research findings demonstrated that the intact and stable AP-3 complex, a heterotetramer that is involved in signal-mediated protein sorting to endosomal-lysosomal organelles, is required for HIV-1 assembly and release, and the involvement of the AP-3 complex in late stages of the HIV-1 replication cycle is independent of clathrin-mediated endocytosis. This study is significant because untangling the detailed mechanism of HIV-1 particle assembly may facilitate the design of novel therapeutics to block HIV-1 infection.

 

Dr. Dong’s important discovery resulted in the following recent publication:

 

 a)    Defective HIV-1 particle assembly in AP-3-deficient cells derived from patients with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 2. Liu L, Sutton J, Woodruff E, Villalta F, Spearman P, Dong X. J Virol. 2012 Oct;86(20):11242-53.  PMID: 22875976; PMCID: PMC3457180.

 

This publication was spotlighted by the Editors of the Journal of Virology in the Journal Issue.

 

3.5  Dr. Donald Alcendor. Dr. Alcendor studies the mechanisms of pathogenesis of the Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), which is the leading infectious cause of vision loss among congenitally infected children. Retinal pericytes play an essential role in maintaining the retinal vascular and endothelial cell proliferation. However, the role of retinal pericytes in ocular HCMV pathogenesis is still unknown. Dr. Alcendor’s findings indicate that in retinal pericytes, HCMV induces proinflammatory and angiogenic cytokines. In the Tricell culture model of the inner blood-retinal barrier (IBRB) (retinal endothelial, pericytes, Müller cells), pericytes likely serve as an amplification reservoir, which contributes, to retinal inflammation and angiogenesis. These studies are significant because they point out that it is necessary to develop IBRB model systems to better understand the mechanisms involved in progressive retinopathies and to provide more efficient methods for a timely evaluation of systemic therapies that must circumvent the IBRB.

 

Dr. Alcendor, in collaboration with scientists at Vanderbilt University, has developed for the first timea “neurovascular unit on a chip” with implications for translational applications including HIV-I infection. This novel technological platform, which combines innovative microfluidics, cell culture, analytical instruments, bioinformatics, control theory, neuroscience, and drug discovery, will replicate chemical communication, molecular trafficking, and inflammation in the brain. The platform will enable targeted and clinically relevant nutritional and pharmacologic interventions for or prevention of such chronic diseases as obesity and acute injury such as stroke, and will uncover potential adverse effects of drugs. If successful, this project will produce clinically useful technologies and reveal new insights into how the brain receives, modifies, and is affected by drugs, other neurotropic agents, and diseases. These novel studies resulted in the following two recent publications:

 

a)    Retinal pericytes and cytomegalovirus infectivity: implications for HCMV-induced retinopathy and congenital ocular disease. Wilkerson I, Laban J, Mitchell JM, Sheibani N, Alcendor DJ. J Neuroinflammation. 2015 Jan 9;12(1):2. PMID: 25573478; PMCID: PMC4314746.

 

b)    Neurovascular unit on a chip: implications for translational applications. Alcendor DJ, Block FE 3rd, Cliffel DE, Daniels JS, Ellacott KL, Goodwin CR, Hofmeister LH, Li D, Markov DA, May JC, McCawley LJ, McLaughlin B, McLean JA, Niswender KD, Pensabene V, Seale KT, Sherrod SD, Sung HJ, Tabb DL, Webb DJ, Wikswo JP. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2013;4 Suppl 1:S18.  PMID: 24564885; PMCID: PMC4029462.

4)    Several faculty members in the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research at Meharry, (that  were previously funded through MeTRC Pilot Project funding), have effectively collaborated with scientists at Vanderbilt and the TN Department of Health in writing and submitting a successful Tennessee Center for AIDS Research (TN-CFAR) grant-1P30AI110527-01A1, which has received a fundable impact score of 12. 

 

The TN-CFAR involves Vanderbilt University, Meharry Medical College and the TN Health Department, with separate budget components for each institution.  Meharry scientists will participate by leading and co-leading components of the TN-CFAR. Meharry’s participation will facilitate the expansion of various types of HIV research at Meharry and will enhance the HIV biological and clinical research enterprise.

5)   School of Graduate Studies and Research Students Are Top Winners at Health Disparities Conference

 

Two graduate students won the first and second place awards at the recent ISMHHD NIH Conference 2014 in Bethesda, MD.

 

Both students are mentored by MeTRC investigator, Dr. CV. Dash.

 

Amma Addai (top photo) and LaKeisha Summers (bottom photo) were winners of first and second place, respectively, in the Graduate Student Category at the Minority Health and Health Disparities Grantees’ Conference held in National Harbor, Maryland in December, 2014.

 

Addai’s presentation was titled “Cocaine enhances HIV-1 integration in CD4+ T cells” and Summers’ presented a poster called “Role of Prolidase in Neuronal Dysfunction of Cocaine Abuse.”

 

The 2014 Student Poster Competition is a program designed and developed to foster and support the innovation, ingenuity and intellectual integrity of future scientists dedicated to the improvement of minority health and the elimination of health disparities from a global perspective. Furthermore, the competition supports the future of education and the evolution of science and excellence in developing students to lead the charge of discovery and leadership.

6)    MeTRC Pilot Project investigators have played important roles in the scientific peer review community serving as Editors, Editors in Chief, Academic Editors, and members of Editorial Boards for Scientific Journals. 

  • Dr. Bindong Liu, Editor-In-Chief, Journal of Antivirals and Antiretroviral
  • Dr. CVDash, Academic Editor, PLOS ONE
  • Dr. Xinhong Dong, Editor, AIDS and RecentAdvancements & Editorial Board member, The Journal ofHIV/AIDS Research and Therapy, the Journal JSM Microbiology, the Journal of AIDS & Its Research and Austin Journal of Clinical Immunology
  •  Dr. Donald Alcendor, Editorial Board member, Journal of Bioengineering and Biomedical Science, The Journal HIV/AIDS Research and Therapy, The Journal of Immunology and ClinicalResearch, Austin Journal of HIV/AIDS Research, Journal of Clinical Oncology & Research, Journal of CancerPrevention & Current Research, andAnnals of Clinical and Medical Microbiology 
  • Dr.  Bindong Liu, Editorial Board member, The Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research
  •  Dr. Waldemar Popik, Editorial Board member,Frontiers of Virology
  •  Dr. Stella Nowicki, Editorial Board member The World Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Advances in Medicine (OB/GYN subject area) and The Journal of Immunology and Clinical Research
  •  Dr. Xua Xi, Editorial Board member, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology

7)    The Collaborations & Partnerships Key Activity has been active in creating an environment that has enhanced research activities through the collaborative efforts of internal and external investigators resulting in scholarly publications and partnerships. Examples are listed in items 1,2,3 and 4 of these MeTRC scientific highlights.

Staff

Samuel E. Adunyah

Principle Investigator and Executive Director

Samuel E. Adunyah, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor
Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6446
Email: sadunyah@mmc.edu

View Publications

Fernando Villalta

Pilot Project Leader

Fernando Villalta, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor
Microbiology and Immunology
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6667
Email: fvillalta@mmc.edu

View Publications

Senior Program Administrators

Karen Smith
Senior Administrative Assistant, Professional Development
615.327.5890
ksmith@mmc.edu

Denise Holland, M.A.
Program Coordinator, Pilot Projects
615.327.6884
lclarke@mmc.edu

Ketia Barnes
Program Coordinator
615.327.6702
kbarnes@mmc.edu

Biomedical Informatics

Siddharth Pratap M.S., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor,
School of Graduate Studies and Research;
Biomedical Informatics
615.327.6219
spratap@mmc.edu

Consuelo Wilkins, M.D., M.Sci.

Executive Director,
Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance;
Collaborations and Partnerships Co-Leader
615.327.6689
consuelo.h.wilkins@meharry-vanderbilt.org

Community Based Research Leader

Consuelo Wilkins, M.D., M.Sci.

Executive Director,
Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance;
Collaborations and Partnerships Co-Leader
615.327.6689
consuelo.h.wilkins@meharry-vanderbilt.org

Evaluation Milestones

John Murray, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Internal Medicine;
Clinical and Translational Research Center
615.327.5724
jmurray@mmc.edu

Konya Williams

Clinical Research Coordinator III,
Clinical and Translational Research Center
615.327.5725
kwilliams2@mmc.edu

Christine Minja-Trupin, M.P.H, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor,
Graduate Studies and Research;
Director, Evaluation Milestones
615.327.6533
ctrupin@mmc.edu

Research Design, Biostatistics, and Clinical Research Ethics (DBRE)

J. Shawn Goodwin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor,
Biochemistry and Cancer Biology;
Technologies and Services
Core Laboratories Co- Leader
615.327.6588
jgoodwin@mmc.edu

Siddharth Pratap M.S., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor,
Graduate Studies and Research;
Technologies and Services
Core Laboratories Co- Leader
615.327.6219
spratap@mmc.edu

Stephania Miller-Hughes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Surgery;
Research Design, Biostatistics,
Clinical Research Ethics
615.327.5666
smiller@mmc.edu

Supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54 MD0007593.