2011-2012 Pilot Project Recipients

Basic Science Applications

Targeting perinatal "fast food" exposures and cancer risks later in life

This pilot project is to investigate a significant public health problem involving the inexplicable increase in incidence of inflammation-associated cancers with a Westernized lifestyle. In particular, there is a recent increase in some types of cancer among adults younger than age 50 years.

  • Susan Erdman
    Prinicple Research Scientist, Divsion of Comparative Medicine
  • Eric Alm
    Associate Professor, Biological Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering

Cooperation and cheating in the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria

This pilot proposal aims to guide quantitative measurements with ideas from evolutionary dynamics and game theory to provide fresh insight into the evolution of antibiotic resistance.

  • Jeff Gore
    Assistant Professor, Physics

An in vivo targeted mutagenesis system to examine the fate of clustered abasic sites

The goal of this pilot project is to hypothesize that targeted mutagenesis proceeds via the generation of clustered abasic sites through the non-specific action of localized Mag1 to normal DNA.

  • Narendra Maheshri
    Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

S100 proteins and zinc in epidermal repair

The goal of this project is to identify genes that are required to stabilize DNA replication under hyperreplicative conditions as we expect mutations in the human homologues of these genes to be predisposed to environmental - and/or oncogenes induced carcinogenesis as well as potentially good chemotherapy targets.

  • Elizabeth Nolan
    Assistant Professor, Chemistry

A study of mucosal colonization by candida albicans

The aim of this pilot project is to fill the gap of the mechanisms that lead to Candida colonization of the mucosa and characterize key steps of Candida colonization inside the mucosa.

  • Katharina Ribbeck
    Assistant Professor, Biological Engineering

Translational Applications

Tracking bacterial transmission in fijian farming communities as a test case

The goal of this translational pilot project is develop an integrated epidemiological/environmental model for transmission of bacteria within human communities. Ultimately, this project is track bacteria (and DNA itself), not only through environmental reservoirs but through human social networks.

  • Eric Alm
    Associate Professor, Biological Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Stuart Levine
    Co-Director, CEHS Genomics and Imaging Facilities Core

Pilot investigation of air pollution and endometriosis

This pilot project proposes to investigate the hypothesis that increased exposure to particulate matter, as observed in women who live in urban areas, is associated with endometriosis and infertility.

  • Stacey A. Missmer
    Assistant Professor, Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health

Interactions between gut microbiomes and arsenic exposure

This pilot proposal will examine the interactions between gut Microbiomes and arsenic exposure.  Specifically addressing three critical questions: 1) Does arsenic exposure cause dysregulation of gut Microbiomes?; 2) Does gut microflora affect arsenic metabolism?; and 3) Does gut microflora mediate toxicological responses to arsenic exposure?  This proposal will not only bridge exciting gut microbiome and environmental exposure research, but move them a step forward by emphasizing analysis of functional impacts of altered gut Microbiomes using metabolomics.

  • Steven R. Tannenbaum
    Professor, Biological Engineering, Chemistry, and Toxicology
  • Kun Lu
    Postdoctoral Associate, Biological Engineering
  • James G. Fox
    Professor and Director,  Divsion of Comparative Medicine