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October 06, 2015

Research News

Harmut Land wins $6.3 million award

Hartmut (Hucky) Land, the Robert and Dorothy Markin Professor of Biomedical Genetics and Wilmot Cancer Institute research director, received a newly established

multimillion award from the National Cancer Institute that supports exceptional scientists with seven years of uninterrupted funding. The NCI Outstanding Investigator Award is in its inaugural year. The award was designed to reward productive and influential researchers by giving them the freedom to pursue long-term goals without having to resubmit grants each cycle. He will continue to test a hypothesis that’s been the cornerstone of his work for 30 years—that different cancers have many shared features, and understanding the common characteristics of cancer might unlock the next generation of targeted treatments.

Funding opportunity to research global challenges

The University, as a member of the Worldwide Universities Network, is eligible to participate in the network’s Research Development Fund, an annual competitive fund for projects focused on the network’s four collaborative global challenges: global higher education and research, public health (noncommunicable disease), responding to climate change, and understanding culture. Faculty may lead a proposal effort as well as participate in those led by fellow member institutions. The submission deadline is Friday, October 30. For more information, contact Ruth Levenkron at or visit the Office for Global Engagement website,

Medical Center collaborates on Parkinson’s treatment study

The Medical Center will receive a $6 million research award and will serve as the coordinating center for data collection in a 60-site clinical study to investigate whether the drug inosine can slow early Parkinson’s disease.

David Oakes, professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, will facilitate data coordination with study chair Michael Schwarzschild, a neurobiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funded the five-year, $26 million project. Rochester is receiving an initial $3.5 million with more funding projected in the final years.

Researcher awarded $2 million for dementia study

Feng (Vankee) Lin, assistant professor of nursing and of psychiatry, has earned a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant to determine if a computer-based training program can lower a person’s risk for dementia. Lin will lead a four-year study testing vision-based speed of processing (VSOP) cognitive training and its effect on slowing cognitive decline in adults at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The training features a series of computer exercises that simulate real-world activities aimed at sharpening a person’s attention and ability to process information.

Professor grant to study partnership with East

Joanne Larson, the Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education at the Warner School, has been awarded a $50,000 grant to study the early stages of the University’s collaborative effort to help revitalize Rochester’s historic East High School. The award from the Spencer Foundation will support Larson’s work in examining the role of literacy in the first year of the East Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) transformation process. The study will explore how larger structures of inequality influence the new partnership and its ability to transform education and social outcomes.

Center for Musculoskeletal Research has banner year for NIH funding

For nearly 20 years, the Center for Musculoskeletal Research has been one of the top NIH-funded orthopaedic research programs in the country, and this year is shaping up to be its best yet: with nine of the center’s grants earning high scores in NIH funding results, it is poised to receive more than $15 million in federal research funding. Most of the new grants cover five years and are worth between $1.6 million and $2.9 million each. Two additional program grants worth more than $6.3 million are pending review by the NIH. The funds will support research that expands our knowledge of common musculoskeletal problems such as rheumatoid arthritis flares and bone infections.

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