The UCLA CTSI R Bridge Award is for highly qualified, new investigators who conduct interdisciplinary and translational research. These awards are specifically intended to help new investigators make the critical transition to independent NIH R01 funding, allowing those who have received competitive scores on their first R01 proposals to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to remain scientifically productive and strengthen their proposals for resubmission.
Project title: Hormonal Mechanisms of Sleep Restriction
Insufficient sleep is common, and leads to insulin resistance, a major factor in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This proposal attempts to reveal the hormonal mechanisms underlying the link between insufficient sleep with insulin resistance. The studies have the potential to outline specific interventions to modify the deleterious hormonal changes, and significantly impact the rising incidence of diabetes mellitus.
Project title: Understanding Retention in Malawi's Option B+ Program
Option B+ emphasizes rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in all pregnant and breastfeeding women and continuation for life, with the goal of reducing mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) and improving health of women. According to the Malawi Ministry of Health, 23% of women started on ART as part of Option B+ are lost from the program by 12 months. Despite this data, there have been no large studies characterizing challenges that women have staying in care and reasons why they may stop taking medications. Taking advantage of UCLA’s long-term relationship with a PEPFAR/USAID collaborator in Malawi, we will perform a mixed-methods study that will begin with interviews with women who have been lost to follow-up from Option B+ (Aim1) to inform a survey that will be used to examine characteristics that distinguish women who stay in care from those who are lost from care (Aim 2).
Project title: Pathobiology and Mechanism of Progesterone Resistance in Human Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S. It originates from the endometrium, a hormonally sensitive cell layer inside of the uterus. While endometrial cancer is often curable in early stages, current therapies (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy) are often ineffective in patients with advanced disease and they can have debilitating side effects. Endometrial cancers can respond to hormonal treatment, but unlike current therapies for other hormone responsive cancers (like breast and prostate) hormonal treatment is not commonly used in endometrial cancer patients. One reason is lack of research in the field. We aim to change this by developing biomakers that can predict if a patient’s endometrial cancer can be successfully treated with a hormone called progesterone. Simultaneously, we are exploring ways to make progesterone resistant tumors respond to hormonal therapy. Our overall goal is to improve lives of thousands of women affected by this gynecologic malignancy.