2004-2005 Pilot Project Recipients


Mechanisms of Chemotherapy-Induced Genetic Instability

The goal of this pilot project was to explore the long term effects of exposure to DNA damage (persistent effects) and to explore the possibility that communication between cells can affect genomic stability (bystander effects).

  • Bevin Engelward
    Associate Professor, Biological Engineering

The Role of Exogenous Pathogens and Intestinal Microbiota in Colorectal Cancer

This pilot project has, for the first time, utilized quantitative PCR and FISH to characterize changes in endogenous intestinal microbial populations after infection with environmental pathogens know to be tumor promoting agents or carcinogenic agents in laboratory mice. These preliminary findings will be confirmed and extended by monitoring microbial populations during the progression of tumors through carcinoma in situ and invasive adenocarcinoma. Intervention studies will also be carried out by supplementing exogenous probiotic species to ascertain if they provide anti-carcinogenic properties. Ultimately, these studies are helping to clarify the complex interactions of environmental agents, including pathogens and chemicals, with endogenous microbes in the gut, that result in oxidative stress, DNA damage, mutation, and increased cancer risk in human populations.

  • Martin Polz
    Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Microfluidic Platform for High-Density Multiplexed Genetic Analysis

The goal of this pilot proposal was to further develop a combination of microtiter plate and microfluidics array devices that performs genetic tests on a series of patient samples simultaneously. This novel technology could potentially reduce the cost of genotyping by three to five orders of magnitude (e.g., the cost per target could be reduced from ~10 cents to ~0.0001 cents). Under this pilot proposal, we developed elastomeric microfluidic devices that can print high density DNA microarrays with dimensions as small as 10 µm.

  • Todd Thorsen
    Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Phosphoproteomics of DNA Damage Repair

Our goal in this project was to unravel the signaling pathways originating at different types of DNA damage in human cells, focusing on the signaling cascades associated with gamma irradiation, for which the ATM (Ataxia-Telegiectasia Mutated) kinase appears to be critical.

  • Forest White
    Assistant Professor, Biological Engineering
  • Michael Yaffe
    Associate Professor, Biology