Kenneth Rainin Foundation Gives $1.7M in ‘Synergy Awards’ for IBD Research

Kenneth Rainin Foundation Gives $1.7M in ‘Synergy Awards’ for IBD Research

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has given $1.7 million in prize money to support collaborative research into preventing and detecting inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The Synergy Awards are aimed at getting experts to combine their research abilities towards a common goal, working together rather than independently.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner across different disciplines at Stanford to pilot a precision approach to IBD therapeutics,” Stanford University’s Dr. Sarah Streett said in a press release. “Our combined expertise in molecular imaging and clinical research, plus our focus on autoimmunity and inflammation positions us to advance our understanding of these diseases and move toward targeting treatments to the individual to optimize success.”

Four groups of researchers received the 2018 Synergy Awards:

The first group of recipients, awarded $300,000, includes Russell Vance, PhD and Karsten Gronert, PhD of University of California, Berkeley, and Jakob von Moltke, PhD at the University of Washington, for their project, “The role of inflammasomes and tuft cells in eicosanoid release by intestinal epithelial cells.”

The second group, which received $200,000, consists of David Padua, MD, PhD of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Karla Kirkegaard, PhD of Stanford University, for their project, “IFNG-AS1 (NEST) long noncoding RNA as a regulator of inflammation in IBD patients.”

The third group, which won $300,000, comprises Stephan Rogalla, MD, Sarah Streett, MDGarry Nolan, PhD and Aaron Mayer, MS — all of Stanford University — for their project, “Precision medicine to enable personalized therapy in IBD via biomarker analysis using CyTOF and multiplexed ion beam imaging.”

The fourth group, which got $200,000, includes John Chang, MDGene Yeo, PhD and William Sandborn, MD at the University of California, San Diego for their project, “Elucidating molecular heterogeneity and new therapeutic targets for IBD using an innovative single-cell sequencing approach.”

 “The Rainin Foundation is optimistic about these new research projects and the ability of researchers to delve further into the various IBD phenotypes and levels of inflammation, as well as precision medicine,” said Laura Wilson, director of health strategy and ventures for the Rainin Foundation, which is based in Oakland, California.

The foundation is also continuing to fund previous Synergy Award grantees who made significant progress in advancing their original research hypotheses. This includes a $300,000 grant to Stanford’s Aida Habtezion, MD, Sidhartha R. Sinha, MD and Justin Sonnenburg, PhD for their project, “Secondary bile acids modulate intestinal inflammation.”

Another project continuing to be funded, with $100,000,  is “The role of IBD in the fungal microbiota transmission from pregnant women to the offspring,” led by Iliyan D. Iliev, PhD, at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, and Inga Peter, PhD and Jean-Frédéric Colombel, MD, PhD of Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine.

Finally, Gwendalyn Randolph, Ph, at Washington University, Saurabh Mehandru, MD, at Icahn School of Medicine and Daniel Mucida, PhD, of Rockefeller University got $300,000 for their project, “Toward identifying the unique pathology that explains Ulcerative Colitis distribution.”

“As an early stage investigator, this type of funding opportunity is critical to me developing a successful scientific career,” said UCLA’s David Padua. “I am looking forward to collaborating with top notch researchers to combine our basic science and clinical translational research toward new discoveries in IBD.”