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The Cooper Foundation Announces Research Grant Award Recipients


The Cooper Foundation is pleased to announce our 2014 Research Grants, administered through the Cooper Research Institute.

Early Career Stage Investigator: Alla Kushnir, MD, Department of Pediatrics –Neonatology, will use the award to study the potential of human adipose-derived stem cells for the treatment of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen and is a critical factor that frequently contributes to mortality and morbidity in neonates.

Infectious Disease Research: Two grants will be awarded in this category. Using an animal model of sepsis to provide guidance for clinical trials, Stephen Hollenberg, MD, Department of Medicine – Cardiology, will identify which hemodynamic measures of variability best indicate late decompensation, i.e. failure of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation and development of organ failure. Raquel Nahra, MD, Department of Medicine – Infectious Diseases, will conduct a pilot study in critically ill patients admitted to the ICU with multidrug resistant (MDR) gram-negative infections to assess the safety and efficacy of combination antimicrobial therapy. The emergence of MDR infections is associated with poor patient outcomes and increased cost.

Unrestricted Research: Richard Fischer, MD, Department of Ob Gyn – Maternal/Fetal Medicine, and Bobby Kwanghoon Han, MD, Department of Medicine – Rheumatology, are recipients in the Unrestricted Research category. Dr. Fischer will conduct a clinical study to assess the effectiveness of preventative antidepressants immediately following delivery on postpartum depression (PPD) rates in women at high risk for this condition. PPD is a major depressive disorder that affects up to 15% of all women and is significantly higher in women with underlying depression, bipolar disorder, or prior history of PPD. Dr. Han will evaluate potential prognostic biomarkers for TNF inhibitor treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. At this time there are no effective biomarkers to predict therapeutic responses to drug treatments resulting in many RA patients undergoing “trial and error” treatment plans until they find the most effective agent for their condition.

In keeping with its charter, the Cooper Foundation has made these grants available to improve the health of our patients while simultaneously fostering the academic career development of our researchers. It is the hope of the Foundation that this research support will result in scholarly publications and new extramural research grants for continued, future research.

The Foundation board appreciates the effort expended by all 15 applicants and thanks them for their well crafted and deserving proposals. It is their sincere hope that they will apply again during the next funding cycle. The Foundation also thanks members of the Research Committee for providing critical and impartial review of all the submitted proposals.