New CORNET Milestone Reached


The Office of Research is celebrating yet another CORNET hit, with a recent $1.15 million NIH award to Wei Li, PhD, UTHSC Distinguished Professor and director of the College of Pharmacy Drug Discovery Center, and Jianxiong Jiang, PhD, associate professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Neurobiology at UTHSC.

The two are principal investigators on a project titled “Targeting TRPC3 Channels for Epileptic Seizures.” Julio Cordero-Morales, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Physiology, is a co-investigator on the study, which is focused on developing a potential new drug target to treat epileptic seizures. The team has previously patented a selective TRPC3 inhibitor as a new druggable target for anti-seizure therapy. Their goal is to develop a lead TRPC3 inhibitor that is stable and safe, with favorable pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties. They will test its effectiveness in suppressing acute seizures, spontaneous recurrent seizures, and/or improving cognitive outcomes.

The grant is a significant milestone for the CORNET program, as it puts the total external dollars generated from CORNET-funded work over the $30 million mark.

The CORNETs (an acronym for Collaborative Research Network) were created by Dr. Steven Goodman in 2016 to give collaborative research teams the initial funding they need to collect data for larger studies. Dr. Li was a 2016 recipient of a CORNET award for a project titled “Selective Targeting of TRPC3 Ion Channel for Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy”, a collaborative study with Catherine Kaczorowski, PhD, former UTHSC assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Kristen O’Connell, PhD, former UTHSC assistant professor in the Department of Physiology. Findings from that initial study were leveraged to develop this latest project, exemplifying the CORNET’s role in attracting large, external awards – and growing the bottom-line in UTHSC grants and contracts.

Over the years, UTHSC Vice Chancellor for Research Steve Goodman, creator of the CORNET program, has awarded 63 CORNETs worth a combined $2.26 million. With this latest NIH award, extramurally funded grants stemming from CORNET work total almost $30.4 million, a whopping 13.45-fold return on investment.

It is incredibly gratifying that the CORNET awards, which we created five years ago, have led to the creation of new successful collaborations across traditional boundaries, important and creative biomedical research, and at the same time has contributed over $30 million to UTHSC grants and contracts. I want to congratulate Dr. Jianxiong Jiang, Dr. Wei Li, and Dr. Julio Cordero-Morales, for receiving this NIH grant award and all of the other CORNET awardees who have contributed to UTHSC surpassing this $30 million milestone.

–Dr. Steve Goodman


The CORNET award for this project was critical for us to jump start this work. It took a while for this project to mature due to unexpected delays, but we are happy to see this great outcome.

— Dr. Wei Li





  • The Tennessee Institute of Regenerative Medicine (TennIRM) is presenting their inaugural annual symposium next month.The 1st Annual TennIRM Research Symposium will be held on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 from 9:00am – 4:00pm.  Attendance options are either in-person at the UTHSC Mooney Library, or virtually via zoom. Regardless of the option you choose, registration is required by January 24th, so REGISTER NOW!   The symposium will feature overviews of ongoing regenerative science research from TennIRM scientists, and a technology review of 3D bio-printing capabilities. Additionally, updates will be provided on ongoing regenerative science initiatives from affiliated organizations at the University of Memphis; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; UTHSC; and industry partners.   The  Tennessee Institute of Regenerative Medicine (TennIRM) brings together the expertise of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the University of Memphis, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the goal of translating scientific discovery into new organ repair and replacement therapies for people suffering from organ damage.

  • New Dates Announced For Global Scientific Conference Recruited to Memphis by UTHSC, TennIRM The International Experimental Biology and Medicine Conference (IEBMC), a major scientific conference being jointly hosted by University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and the Tennessee Institute of Regenerative Medicine (TennIRM), has been rescheduled with an updated speaker lineup. Originally slated for October 8-10, 2021, the conference is now set to take place April 29-May 1, 2022 at the Central Station Hotel in downtown Memphis. The decision to reschedule was made out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and well-being of conference participants and attendees. The annual event regularly attracts 250-300 attendees. As recently as early September, the virulence of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in Shelby County, and the resultant increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, were still a cause for concern. The conference is also sponsored by the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine and its journal, Experimental Biology and Medicine, and is supported by industry and foundation partners. Steve Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for Research at UTHSC, is chairing the conference planning committee and was instrumental in bringing the event to Memphis. “Every year this international conference is on a topic of great interest to the global scientific community,” Dr. Goodman said. “This year, the topic is regenerative medicine, and the creation and rapid growth of TennIRM was an important factor in bringing the IEBMC to Memphis.” Memphis is the first stateside location the global conference has chosen in its eight-year history. Along with the new dates, a revised list of speakers was announced, which include Arnold I. Caplan, PhD, director of the Skeletal Research Center and professor of Biology at Case Western Reserve University, as the new keynote. “We have an outstanding slate of speakers highlighted by our keynote lecturer, Dr. Arnie Caplan. Dr. Caplan is the researcher who discovered mesenchymal stem cells and is a leader in the field,” Dr. Goodman said. Thought leaders from around the globe in the area of regenerative medicine will present as plenary speakers, addressing a wide spectrum of basic, translational and clinical research topics during five plenary sessions: Stem Cell Biology, Organoids, Organs on a Chip, Regenerative Medicine and the Cardiovascular System, and Regenerative Medicine and the Nervous System. The plenary speaker lineup includes participants from leading research institutions across the United States and globally, the FDA Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies, and local speakers from UTHSC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The conference, which provides an opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to present their work to international experts, also extended the deadline for poster session abstract submittals to January 2022. For registration information or to submit an abstract, visit the event website, Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact Greg Harris, senior director of Development, UT Research Foundation, at The complete Speaker Lineup: Opening Keynote, Arnold I. Caplan, PhD, Case Western Reserve University Session 1, Stem Cell Biology: Jian Feng, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo; Daniel Garry, MD, PhD, University of Minnesota; Hannele Ruohola-Baker, University of Washington; Shannon McKinney-Freeman, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Session 2, Organoids: Antonio Santos, PhD, Stanford University; Munemasa Mori, MD, PhD, Columbia University; Gábor Tigyi, MD, PhD, DSc, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Session 3, Organs on a Chip: John Wikswo, PhD, Vanderbilt University; Megan McCain, PhD, University of Southern California; Hyun Jung Kim, PhD, University of Texas at Austin; Peter Loskill, PhD, Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB Session 4, Regenerative Medicine and the Cardiovascular System: Robert Schwartz, PhD, University of Houston; W. Keith Jones, Loyola University Chicago; Y. James Kang, PhD, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Session 5, Regenerative Medicine and the Nervous System: Agnes Luo, PhD, University of Cincinnati; Guoli Ming, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania; Cindi Morshead, PhD, the University of Toronto Closing presentation: Sung Kyung, PhD, FDA Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies