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Research News & Announcements

COVID-19 Research Forum
May 14, 2020

Part 1: Clinical Framework, Translational Science and Population Science

12:00 - Welcome and Opening Remarks
Charles B. Cairns, MD, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean, DUCOM and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Drexel University Professor of Medicine and Emergency Medicine

Introduction to the Research Forum Series
Kenny J. Simansky, PhD, Moderator Vice Dean for Research, Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, Professor of Psychiatry

12:05 - COVID-19: Clinical presentation and epidemiology
Debra Powell, MD, MS, Chief, Division of Infectious Disease, Medical Director for Infection Prevention, Tower Health

12:15 - Translational Science Projects: Awards to DUCOM Principal Investigators from the Drexel University Rapid Response Research and Development Fund (Complete authorship information at drexel.edu/research/resources/response-to-covid-19-pandemic/fundingopportunities/rapid-response-research-development-funding-awardees/)

Adenosine Deaminase-1 Enhances Efficacy of a DNA Vaccine Encoding SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein S1 Through Modulation of T-Follicular Helper Cells
Michele Kutzler, PhD, Assistant Dean of Faculty Development, Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Macrocyclic and Small Molecule Inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Entry
Simon Cocklin, PhD Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Irreversible Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 by Spike Protein Targeting
Irwin Chaiken, PhD Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Sensing in Primary Human Macrophages
Sonia Navas-Martin, PhD Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Q&A for Translational Science Projects

12:40 - Population Science: Immune Response and Disease Severity in Hospitalized COVID Patients
Program funded by National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Immunophenotyping Assessment in a COVID-19 Cohort (IMPACC Study)
Elias Haddad, PhD Director of MD/PhD Program, Professor of Medicine
Charles B. Cairns, MD Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean, DUCOM and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Drexel University Professor of Medicine and Emergency Medicine

Q&A for COVID-19 Immunophenotyping Study


COVID-19 Research Forum
May 21, 2020

Part 2: Diagnostics, Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Technology

12:00 - Opening Remarks: Recap of Part 1 and Foundation for Today's Forum
Brian Wigdahl, PhD Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Immunology Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease

12:10 - Technologies and Therapeutic Behavioral Intervention: Awards to DUCOM Principal Investigators from the Drexel University Rapid Response Research and Development Fund (Complete authorship information at drexel.edu/research/resources/response-to-covid-19-pandemic/fundingopportunities/rapid-response-research-development-funding-awardees/)

Novel Mobile App and Information System for COVID-19 Situational Awareness and Organizational Management
Charles B. Cairns, MD, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean, DUCOM and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Drexel University Professor of Medicine and Emergency Medicine

PPE Fabric Face Mask for Healthcare Providers and General Use1
Charles B. Cairns, MD, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean, DUCOM and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Drexel University Professor of Medicine and Emergency Medicine
1 Genevieve Dion, Principal investigator Director, Center for Functional Fabrics, Professor of Design, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Implementation of an Online Peer Support Community to Assist Women with Substance Abuse Disorder During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Pilot Study
David Bennett, PhD Professor of Psychiatry

Q&A for Technologies and Therapeutic Behavior Intervention
Moderator: Kenny J. Simansky, PhD, Vice Dean for Research, Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology, Professor of Psychiatry

12:30 - Round-Table: Detection, Prevention and Cure
Elias Haddad, PhD, Moderator Director of MD/PhD Program, Professor of Medicine

12:30 - Introductory Comments
Detection of Viral Nucleic Acid, Antigen, and Antibodies
Alan Evangelista, MD, PhD, Director, Microbiology and Virology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children

Pipeline for SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine
Michele Kutzler, PhD, Assistant Dean of Faculty Development, Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Detection of Viral Nucleic Acid, Antigen, and Antibodies

12:40 - Round-table

Garth D. Ehrlich, PhD, Executive Director, Centers for Advanced Microbial Processing, Genomic Sciences and Surgical Infections and Biofilms, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Alan Evangelista, MD, PhD, Director, Microbiology and Virology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children

Mark G. Martens, MD, Senior Vice President - Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer and Designated Institutional Official, Tower Health Interim Vice Dean of Drexel University School of Medicine at Tower Health, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, Professor of Obstetric and Gynecology, DUCOM

Brian Wigdahl, PhD, Professor and Chair, Microbiology and Immunology Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease

12:50 - Q&A for Round-table Including Introductory Comments


Project Awardees — COVID-19 Rapid Response Research & Development Fund

Drexel's Rapid Response Research & Development Fund was designated for urgent action, short-term projects focused on COVID-19 related health and health-related research and development.

The enthusiasm and the level of response to the Rapid Response Research & Development Fund was incredible. We received 40 submissions. With only a limited amount of funding available, selecting projects amongst this strong group of submissions was very challenging.

The awarded projects fall into five broad categories, they are:

Connected, Public and Mental Health

  • Chronicling the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical and Mental Health and Telehealth Care Delivery: Perspectives from Providers and Older Adults
    ♦ RoseAnn DiMaria-Ghalili (CNHP), Kym Montgomery (CNHP), Gloria Gonzalez-Kruger (CNHP), Michael Weingarten (CoM)
  • COVID-19: Slow Disaster
    ♦ Scott Knowles (CoAS)
  • Creating a COVID-19 Urban Vulnerability Data Tool to Inform Mobilization and Coalition-Building
    ♦ Amy Carroll-Scott (DSPH), Félice Lê-Scherban (DSPH)
  • Implementation of an Online Peer Support Community to Assist Women with Substance Abuse Disorder during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Pilot Study
    ♦ David Bennett (CoM), Barbara Schindler (CoM), Chris Yang (CCI), Ou Stella Liang (CCI)
  • Improving Spatial Surveillance for COVID-19 Cases While Accounting for Errors in Testing
    ♦ Neal Goldstein (DSPH), Igor Burstyn (DSPH)
  • Novel Mobile App and Information System for COVID-19 Situational Awareness and Organizational Management
    ♦ Charles Cairns (CoM)
  • RAPID Assessment of First Responder Mental Health
    ♦ Jennifer Taylor (DSPH), Christian Resick (LCoB), Andrea Davis (DSPH)

Diagnostics

  • Inexpensive, Rapid, Field-Usable Genetic Test to Detect COVID-19 in Asymptomatic Individuals
    ♦ Wan Shih (Biomed)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Biocontainment Intubation “Tent”: Design Refinement, Testing and Deployment
    ♦ Sharon Walker (CoE), Kara Spiller (Biomed), Caroline Schauer (CoE), Michele Marcolongo (CoE), Amy Throckmorton (Biomed), Michael Waring (CoE), James Lo (CoE)
  • Covid-19: Design-Build of “AJflex Shield” For Hospitals and Health Systems in the Philadelphia Region
    ♦ Amy Throckmorton (Biomed), Michele Marcolongo (CoE), Ellen Bass (CNHP, CCI)
  • COVID-19: Developing a PPE Facemask and Validating Its Removal Efficiency
    ♦ Michael Waring (CoE), Genevieve Dion (WCoMAD)
  • PPE Fabric Face Mask for Healthcare Providers and General Use
    ♦ Genevieve Dion (WCoMAD), Charles Cairns (CoM)

Social and Economic Implications

  • Understanding the Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 on Low-Income, Minority Communities
    ♦ Allison Groves (DSPH)

Therapeutics / Vaccines

  • Adenosine Deaminase-1 Enhances Efficacy of A DNA Vaccine Encoding SARS-Cov-2 Spike Glycoprotein S1 through Modulation of T Follicular Helper Cells
    ♦ Michele Kutzler (CoM), Elias Haddad (CoM)
  • Macrocyclic and Small Molecule Inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Entry
    ♦ Simon Cocklin (CoM), Adel Rashad (CoM)
  • Irreversible Inactivation of SARS-Cov-2 by Spike Protein Targeting
    ♦ Irwin Chaiken (CoM)
  • SARS-Cov-2 Infection and Sensing in Primary Human Macrophages
    ♦ Sonia Navas-Martin (CoM), Julio Martin-Garcia (CoM)

A special thanks to our 15 peer reviewers who worked diligently so that we could award these funds quickly.

Though we were unable to fund all projects, we encourage all submitters to seek COVID-19 project funds by searching the subscription funding databases (Funding Institutional and Pivot), signing up for alerts from grants.gov, reaching out federal agencies and foundations, socializing your projects with program managers in those agencies and foundations, and seeking guidance from internal supports through the Drexel Librarians, Institutional Advancement/Foundation Relations, and Office of Research & Innovation. A summary of some opportunities and resources can be found on the ORI's COVID-19 Research Funding Opportunities webpage. Questions? Email researchdevelopment@drexel.edu


Read Emergency Updates from Drexel Global Engagement

  • Update on Drexel COVID-19 Monitoring and Restrictions
  • Drexel Restricts South Korea for All Travelers
  • Italy Added to Restricted Travel List
  • And more...

Related NIH Opportunities - Coronavirus

Examples of coronavirus research supported by NIH from NIH RePORTER NIAID support for new research in response to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-2019 NIAID Funding News, Feb 19, 2020; Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) regarding the Availability of Urgent Competitive Revisions for Research on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (NOT-AI-20-030). Please visit the NIH website to learn more.


5 Presentations You’ll See at This Year’s Discovery Day

The platform presenters for Drexel University College of Medicine's annual research day, called Discovery Day, discuss their research topics and tips for success. Read more.


2019 News & Announcements

New Beyond the Bedside Podcast

DrExcel Health is proud to present our first podcast episode for the semester with our esteemed guest, Dr. Esther Chernak. Dr. Chernak is the course Director for the Frontiers program at Drexel University College of Medicine, and is the Director of the MD/MPH program. Her work spans over 2 decades of involvement in the Philadelphia health system. The episode can be accessed at anchor.fm.


HIV: What's Next - Six Drexel Scientists Share Their Work

Six Scientists Share Their Work - Where antiretroviral drugs are taken as prescribed, HIV/AIDS has passed from a crisis to a manageable chronic disease. Researchers are deeply engaged with the next set of questions: How can HIV patients have a better quality of life? What aging conditions or diseases might they be more susceptible to as a result of living with the virus? Are there better treatments that might involve fewer side effects, or that can be used if the existing ones are no longer effective? Can a vaccine be developed that will conquer this health threat once and for all? Read more. Alumni Magazine Spring/Summer 2019


Pictured from left to right: Noreen Robertson, DMD (Associate Vice Dean for Research); Dr. James Allison (2018 Nobel Laureate and 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal winner); Dr. Brad Jameson (Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); and Kenny Simansky, PhD (Vice Dean for Research; Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology)

Pictured from left to right: Noreen Robertson, DMD (Associate Vice Dean for Research); Dr. James Allison (2018 Nobel Laureate and 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal winner); Dr. Brad Jameson (Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); and Kenny Simansky, PhD (Vice Dean for Research; Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology)

Drexel Students and Faculty Meet Nobel Laureate

Drexel graduate and medical students met with 2018 Nobel Prize winner Dr. James Allison to discuss his work, following his seminar entitled "Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy: New Insights, Opportunities and Prospects for Cures." Dr. Allison's lecture at Drexel University was held in conjunction with his receipt of the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences. Dr. Allison received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for work on immune checkpoint blockade as a treatment for cancer. He is credited with devising an entirely new approach to cancer therapy and saving many lives.


New Research Solutions Committee for Clinical Research

The Office of the Vice Dean for Research is launching a Research Solutions Committee. The goal is to give clinical researchers an opportunity to address concerns and issues with their clinical research projects.

This will be a monthly meeting, and anyone can request to be placed on the agenda. Then the appropriate parties will be present to discuss and resolve the issue(s). We believe this will bring more transparency into the negotiation process among relevant parties, improve communication, and help us collectively come up with innovative solutions to make our processes more efficient.

The meetings will be held the 2nd Wednesday of every month, 9:30-10:30 a.m., at New College Building, 19th floor, in the Academic Conference Room.

To be added to the agenda, email Janet Matthews BSN, RN, director, Research Program Development, at jm834@drexel.edu. You will be provided with the meeting date and time your subject will be discussed.

Please note that, as always, our office will be available to you for any research concern or issue at any time. The advantage of this committee will be to bring all relevant parties from our office, the Office of Research, and the Office of the Comptroller, as needed, to a common meeting for issues that remain unresolved.


2018 News & Announcements

Rewriting the Book on Alzheimer's Disease

"We're testing the hypothesis that Alzheimer's disease — which perhaps should be called Fischer's disease — is triggered at least in some cases by infection," says Ehrlich, a professor in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Alumni Magazine (Summer 2018)


Baby's Breath

Vineet Bhandari, MD, has successfully triggered a process in which cells engulf their own insides in mice subjects, which could be used to prevent chronic lung disease in premature infants. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


Bug Zapper

A team led by Akhil Vaidya, PhD, has discovered an unusual mechanism that allows two new antimalarial drugs to operate. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


The Chemicals They Carry

Thousands of U.S. soldiers returned from the 1991 Persian Gulf War with a mysterious, incurable illness. To find answers, College of Medicine researchers are reprogramming veterans' cells. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


A Cure for Cancer's Spread?

A drug compound in development at Drexel would give breast cancer patients the gift of precious time, by keeping metastatic cells from seeding deadly new tumors. Drexel eXel Magazine (2018)


Final Destination

A new study from Drexel researchers sheds light on the parts of the brain that help make a neuron's journey from its birthplace to the brain—and everything that relies on it — possible. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


Healing Sound Waves

A battery-powered applicator developed by Michael Weingarten, MD, and Peter Lewin, PhD — as small and light as a watch — is the first portable device to heal chronic wounds with low-frequency ultrasound. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


Theory of Evolution

Joshua Chang Mell, PhD, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia have made progress in understanding how a common pathogen causes the chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


Youth Movement

Thomas Trojian, MD, and colleagues believe youth coaches should teach young athletes better movement techniques that will reduce lower-body injuries. Drexel EXEL Magazine (2018)


The Chemicals They Carry

Thousands of U.S. soldiers returned from the 1991 Persian Gulf War with a mysterious, incurable illness. To find answers, College of Medicine researchers are reprogramming veterans' cells. Drexel eXel Magazine (2018)


Lab-Grown Neurons Improve Breathing In Rats After Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers from Drexel University College of Medicine and the University of Texas at Austin improved respiratory function in rodents with spinal cord injuries after successfully transplanting a special class of neural cells, called V2a interneurons. Their results, published this week in the Journal of Neurotrauma, indicate that these lab-grown cells have the potential to one day help paralyzed patients breathe without a ventilator. Science Magazine / Drexel News


Maya Rao, PhD, Publishes Article in Journal of Biological Chemistry

Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics PhD Maya Rao recently published "Interaction between the AAA+ ATPase p97 and its cofactor ataxin3 in health and disease: Nucleotide-induced conformational changes regulate cofactor binding" in the November issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (February 2018)

2017 News & Announcements

Co-investigators to Study Anal Dysplasia Among HIV-Infected Individuals

A $25,000 grant for an HIV Cancer Pilot Award from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center will support a collaborative investigation into the severity of anal dysplasia, which can lead to anal cancer, and its association with inflammation in HIV infection. (November 2017)


Discovery Day 2017 Winners

With topics ranging from HIV/AIDS to spinal cord injury and neuroengineering, more than 380 Drexel University College of Medicine students and scientists showcased original research at Discovery Day 2017 on Thursday, Oct. 12.


Drexel Researcher Wins STAT News Wunderkind Award

STAT — a Boston-based national publication focused on science and health news — has named Halley Oyer, PhD, one of the "brightest young minds in life science." Oyer is a College of Medicine postdoc working in the laboratory of Felix Kim, PhD. (October 2017)

DNA Strand Breaks

"Researchers Uncover New Instruction Manual to Repair Broken DNA"

A College of Medicine study reveals an unexpected function of the homologous recombination protein Rad52 and may help to identify new therapeutic targets for cancer. (June 8, 2017)


Chemical Warfare

"Gulf War Study Identifies an Enzyme Inhibitor to Treat Gulf War Illness Symptoms"

College of Medicine researchers shed light on the neurological consequences of exposure to low-levels of nerve agents and suggest that drugs like tubacin could treat some of the toxins’ neurological effects. (June 6, 2017)


3D Organelles Nature

"Drexel Researchers Help Provide First Glimpse at Organelles In Action"

Researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development are getting a first glimpse at the inner-workings of live cells thanks to a new microscopy technique pioneered by Nobel laureate Eric Betzig with help from engineers at Drexel University. Their method uses grids of light that activate fluorescent color tags on each type of organelle — the result is a 3-D video that gives researchers their best look at how cells function. It will allow scientists to better understand how cells react to environmental stressors and respond to drug treatment. (May 24, 2017)


Felix Kim

"Invented at Drexel: Startup Companies to Showcase New Drug Treatments at the Coulter Investment Forum"

Three biopharmaceutical startups led by Drexel University researchers are one step closer to bringing new, potentially life-saving drugs to the market. (May 10, 2017)


"Genomics Reveal How Bacteria Evolve in Cystic Fibrosis Patients"

Scientists have made new headway in understanding how a deadly pathogen evolves during chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. "By looking at changes in the genome over time, we were able to see patterns — common themes that help us to better understand how this particular species evolves in its environment and how CF patients become chronically infected," said study co-corresponding author Joshua Chang Mell, PhD, an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine. Drexel Now (March 21, 2017)


"2017 CURE Awardees"

Many thanks to the faculty and staff who participated in the 2017 Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) grant program competition. After an internal call for proposals, a scientific review panel met on March 3, 2017, to evaluate the applications that were submitted. The panel comprised faculty members from across the University. (March 20, 2017)


"Picture This: Newest Microscopes Quicken the Pace of Research"

For researchers at Drexel University College of Medicine, the acquisition of two new confocal microscopes provides an unprecedented view into the human body — and fresh insights into conditions such as autism, neuroinflammation, HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment, heart attacks, cancer and more. Pulse (Spring 2017)

 
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