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URMC / Research / Research@URMC / June 2016 / Center for Musculoskeletal Research Renews $4 Million Grant from NIH and Launches the Brodell Muscul

Center for Musculoskeletal Research Renews $4 Million Grant from NIH and Launches the Brodell Musculoskeletal Research Fund

The Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center recently received renewal of a five year, $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The large “P30 Core Center” grant will allow the CMSR to continue to provide infrastructure and career development support to musculoskeletal researchers across the university.

CMSR faculty at their 2015 symposium

Under the direction of Edward Schwarz, Ph.D., the Richard and Margaret Burton Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedics, the CMSR has consistently ranked as one of the top NIH-funded orthopaedic research programs in the country. Schwarz attributes this success largely to the quality of the faculty in the CMSR and the center’s focus on promoting the next generation of scientists and national leaders.  Most notable among these leaders in the P30 renewal are three new Directors: Laura Calvi, M.D. associate director of the Administration Core, Jennifer Jonason, Ph.D. co-director of the Histology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Imaging Core, and Danielle Benoit, Ph.D. co-director of the Biomechanics Biomaterials and Multimodal Tissue Imaging Core.

“Our center focuses on developing the most valuable resource in Musculoskeletal Research: its research talent,” says Schwarz.

Over the past five years, the previous P30 grant helped the CMSR support and advance faculty to independence. With robust efforts to support new investigators – via small pilot grants and a highly successful mentorship program funded by the P30 – the CMSR has grown from two tenure-track assistant professors to 16. Pilot grant funding allowed many non-tenure track and clinical faculty to obtain preliminary data that was critical for gaining subsequent independent funding and led to many academic promotions.

James David Brodell, Sr. ’83M (Res) and Ann Pearsall

In the current round of funding, the CMSR plans to expand the Pilot Grant Program using institutional and philanthropic funding. In fact, James David Brodell, Sr. ’83M (Res) and Ann Pearsall Brodell established a new pilot fund to provide seed money for fledgling projects in orthopaedic medicine and surgery in the fall of 2015.

The inaugural Harold Louis Brodell, M.D. ’54 and Alma Jean Brodell Musculoskeletal Research Fund, named in honor of Brodell’s parents, will supplement the 2016 P30 Pilot Grant awarded to John C. Elfar, M.D., who studies innovative ways to treat peripheral nerve injuries. The work could provide wide-ranging benefits to civilians and military personnel with limb injuries.

Four other $20,000 P30 pilot grants were awarded to:

  • Yahui Grace Chiu, Ph.D., “Functional and Phenotypical Characterization of a Novel Subset of DC-STAMP+ T cells”
  • Jennifer Jonason, Ph.D., “The Role of RUNX2 in the Progression of Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis”
  • Catherine Kuo, Ph.D., “Axial and Limb Tendon Progenitor Cell Baseline and FGF4-Induced Differences”
  • Hengwei Zhang, Ph.D., “Proteasome inhibition enhanced bone fracture healing through PDGFR signaling”

The P30 grant renewal will also fund several core resources provided by the CMSR some of which are under new direction

  • Histology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Imaging (HBMI) Core offers guidance and support for histological processing, staining, imaging, analysis, and protocol optimization.  In addition, the core aids in development of primary cellular culture models and biochemical assays.
  • Biomechanics Biomaterials and Multimodal Tissue Imaging (BBMTI) Core provides subsidized, cost-effective access and training for new investigators in the biomechanical assessment of biomaterials and musculoskeletal tissues. This includes longitudinal imaging using micro-CT, fluorescent, bioluminescent, and ultrasound technology.
  • Kenneth DeHaven Arthroscopic Surgical Skills Laboratory (KDASSL) offers critically important laboratory training in human cadaver skills and provides opportunities for use of donated human tissue in research.

The CMSR offers facilities, services, and opportunities for collaboration among researchers across the university to help streamline and accelerate basic, translational, and clinical musculoskeletal research.  

Susanne Pritchard Pallo | 6/29/2016

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