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Infectious Disease Containment, Anxiety Disorder Interventions Among Collaborative Projects Funded by AB Nexus Grants

The AB Nexus program has selected its fall 2020 grant awards from CU Anschutz and CU Boulder for research projects

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Written by Guest Contributor on December 2, 2020
What You Need To Know

Today, AB Nexus, an initiative to expand research collaborations between the CU Anschutz and CU Boulder, announced eight grant awards to faculty collaborating on research projects. 

The AB Nexus Research Collaboration Grant program announced its inaugural round of grants totaling $625,000 for novel research projects integrating expertise from the CU Anschutz and CU Boulder campuses. The projects selected—five new collaborations and three projects that build on existing collaborative work—represent a broad range of research themes related to basic science and translational approaches.

Fall 2020 AB Nexus Grant Awards

Joel Stoddard and Matt Jones:

Associative Threat Learning: Measuring Mechanisms for Treating Threat-based Psychopathologies

Stephanie Bryant and Karin Payne:

Biophysical Cues Governing Growth Plate Organization: A Computational & Experimental Approach

Emiliano Dall’Anese and Andrea Buchwald:

Control-Theoretic Design of Data-Driven Policies for Containing Transmission of Infectious Diseases

Patricia Ernst and Mary Allen:

Identification of an Embryonic Cell-Intrinsic Cancer Checkpoint: Studying Differential Transcriptional Effects of the Proto-oncogene MLL1 Versus MLL-ENL in an Embryonic System

Corey Neu and Larry Moreland:

Next-Generation Imaging Biomarkers for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dmitri Simberg and Jingshi Shen:

Novel Extracellular Vesicle-Based Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery

Robert MacCurdy and Nicholas Jacobson:

Patient-specific On-demand Pre-surgical Planning Models via 3D Printing

Debanjan Mukherjee and Jay Pal:

Stroke Risk Assessment for Improved Left Ventricle Assist Device Therapy in Heart Failure Patients 

Among the eight projects receiving funding, several projects stand out as especially relevant to current world events.

Breakthroughs for controlling pandemics

The “Control-theoretic design of data-driven policies for containing transmission of infectious diseases” project aims to develop a unified framework that explains the spread of a pandemic based on mobility patterns between regions and leverages control-theoretic tools to develop coordinated regional interventions to limit or prevent future outbreaks.

The models developed in this project could potentially be used to better understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Colorado and the effect of control strategies targeting travel and mobility to impact the ongoing outbreak across the state.

Principal investigators for the project, which was awarded $50,000, are Emiliano Dall’Anese, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at CU Boulder, and Andrea Buchwald, research associate in the Center for Innovative Design and Analysis at Colorado School of Public Health.

Interventions for anxiety disorders

An existing collaboration, “Associative Threat Learning: Measuring Mechanisms for Treating Threat-based Psychopathologies,” was awarded $125,000 to answer new questions that will further its already encouraging progress addressing common forms of mental illness.

Threat-based psychopathologies, such as anxiety disorders, are the most common form of mental illness and the sixth-leading cause of disease-related disability worldwide. The most widely used psychological intervention for these pathologies is exposure therapy.

This project will provide direction for new exposure-based interventions and software that might be used as a medical device to better identify individuals who will benefit from exposure therapy as well as tailor exposure therapy for threat-based mental disorders.

Joel Stoddard, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Neuroscience Graduate Program at CU Anschutz and Matt Jones, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at CU Boulder are Principal Investigators for this project.

Building bridges to the future

The AB Nexus is expanding collaborations between the CU Anschutz and CU Boulder campuses to generate knowledge that improves human well-being and spurs innovation and economic development.

The AB Nexus Research Collaboration Grant program, which will accept the next round of proposals in Spring 2021, is funded jointly by the CU Anschutz Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, CU Boulder Research & Innovation Office and the CU Office of the President. In total, 74 total proposals were received and reviewed.

In addition to the grant program, AB Nexus supports increased collaboration across the CU Anschutz and CU Boulder campuses by offering a variety of resources to the campuses, including personalized support from partnership specialists, tailored to specific opportunities and needs.

To learn more about opportunities to collaborate across campuses, visit the AB Nexus website or email Diane.Ladell@cuanschutz.edu or Kristen.Kruszewski@colorado.edu.