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URA awards mirror Rochester's cutting-edge research

Friday, May 24, 2019

Originally called Provost’s Multidisciplinary Awards, the University Research Awards provide “seed” grants for promising, high-risk projects.

The fund has been increased from $500,000 annually to $1 million. Half of the funding comes from the President’s Fund, with the rest being matched by the various schools whose faculty members are recipients.

Applications were sought from faculty across the University, and funding is awarded to recipients who demonstrate their projects favor new research with a high probability of being leveraged by future external funding. A review committee of faculty from across the University provides peer review of the applications.

Two professors from CVBI were among this year's recipients. Sally Quataert, research associate professor, and Mark Sangster, research professor, both of microbiology and immunology, for Advancing Translational Research to Drive Universal Influenzae Vaccine Development: Novel Methods for Assessing Clinical Antibody Responses.

One of the leading candidates for a universal influenza vaccine is the conserved stem/stalk region of the HA protein that mediates fusion of the virus with endosomal membrane, an important step in infection. This study’s multiple goals include developing clinical assay methods to detect and quantitate anti-stalk antibodies in sera and to assess antibody affinity/avidity and functional anti-fusion activity.

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