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Making Music: The CORNET Awards


As modern research methods have become more specialized and the true complexity of today’s most pressing health issues and diseases is revealed, coordinating teams of investigators with diverse skills and knowledge has shown to be especially helpful in tackling these obstacles. A growing trend pithing biomedical research is cross-disciplinary science in which researchers with training and expertise in different backgrounds work together to combine or integrate hair perspectives into a single research endeavor.

At Dr. Steven R. Goodman’s, PhD, first Research Town Hall meeting in January, the newly appointed VC for Research announced plans for a novel award program titled Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) Awards. Based on the ideals of cross-disciplinary team science, the purpose of this program is to “stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary, team research that crosses not only UTHSC’s Memphis colleges, but also encourages collaborations across all UT campuses and beyond.” According to Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, “the creation of the CORNET Awards is an important step in stimulation team-based, multidisciplinary research. Beginning with cross-college collaboration, then moving to cross-campus, and ultimately multi-institution collaboration meets our vision for UTHSC research.”

The CORNET Awards will unfold in three phases: (1) UTHSC CORNET Awards in Memphis; (2) UT CORNET Awards; and (3) Southeastern CORNET Awards. Phase 1 of this innovative program is already well underway. At the inaugural CORNET Awards Ceremony on April 25th, nine research groups were granted a total of $422,504 in funding on behalf of Chancellor Schwab to promote new lines of research amongst collaborators on UTHSC’s campus. The awardees and their project titles are as follows:

  • “Novel Approach to Treat Drug Resistant Clostridium Difficile Infections: Proof-of-pharmacological concept” – Isaac Donkor, PhD; Michio Kurosu, PhD; Ying Kong, PhD
  • “Genetic Analysis of Rapid Desensitization of the CB1 Receptor in BXD Mice” – Bob Moore, PhD; Byron Jones, PhD, Megan Mulligan, PhD
  • “Exploring the Therapeutic Potential of a Novel Drug for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by Targeting Neuroinflammatory Processes” – Detlef Heck, PhD; Francesca-Fang Lio, PhD; Anton Reiner, PhD; Bob Moore, PhD
  • “Nanogel Delivery of TRIM56-derived Peptide as a Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Against Influenza” – Kui Li, PhD; Tao Lowe, PhD
  • “Selective Targeting of TRPC3 Ion Channel for Alzheimer’s disease Therapy” – Catherine Kaczorowski, PhD, Wei Li, PhD, Kristen O’Connell, PhD
  • “Clinical, Demographic, Genetic, and Epigenetic Determinants of Health-Related Quality of Life Post Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage” – Ansley Stanfill, PhD, RN; Lucas Elijovich, MD; Brandon Baughman, PhD; Claire Simpson, PhD
  • “Novel 20-hydroxyvitamin D3 (20D3) Analogues for Periodontics Treatment” – Liang Hong, DDS, PhD, Franklin Garcia-Godoy, DDS, PhD, PhD; Wei Li, PhD; David Tipton, DDS, PhD; Yanhui Zhng, Ph
  • “MFCI, BURST, and OMICS: Mining Actionable Insights for Biomedical Researcher” – Charissse Madlock-Brown, PhD, MLS; Robert Davis, MD, MPH; Panduka Nagahawatte, MS
  • “Scavenger Receptor-mediated Mechanisms in Age-related Macular Degeneration” -Francesco Giorgianni, PhD; Marko Radic, PhD

Phases 2 and 3 are also shaping up with the announcements said to come in the near future. Their goal is to highlight and build upon each university’s strengths by encouraging collaborative efforts from investigator that crosses UT campuses as well as other universities. Specifically, for UTHSC, this owl include all Areas of Excellence being outlines in the Operational Strategic Plan for Research. Dr. Goodman has met with leaders from across our sister campuses as well as the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Alabama at Birmingham to name a few, all of whom are eager to “compose music” with UTHSC.

Chancellor Schwab and VCR Goodman are encouraged by the overwhelming number and caliber of the applications received in Phase 1 and are eager to see further submissions. With a focus on cross-disciplinary team science, together, we are making the music that is propelling scientific innovation forward.