Studying how experimental drugs curb opioid abuse and more: Rowan researchers have been awarded 13 NJ Health Foundation grants.rowan today


Preclinical research into how investigational drugs reduce opioid abuse, multiple studies of new cancer treatments, and trials of antiviral drugs are among 13 projects awarded grants this spring by Rowan University researchers. just a small part of New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF).

Each year, the NJHF awards grants to promote health research and innovation in New Jersey organizations. In 2022, Rowan researchers will $433,000 in the form of research and community health grants from NJHF.

Daniel Manvich, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, said: Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicineusing his $34,878 grant to learn how an experimental class of drugs diminishes the beneficial effects of opioids.

Opioids affect the brain in part by increasing levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in the brain’s reward system. Dopamine binds to five proteins called dopamine receptors. In preclinical studies, an experimental compound that selectively targets the D3 receptor blocked the effects associated with opioid abuse.

“Although we know that D3 receptors are important for the effects of these drugs, we do not know the exact mechanisms by which these drugs reduce the effects of opioids from a neuropharmacological or neurobiological perspective. “There is value in understanding how these drugs work to achieve their therapeutic effects. because it helps.”

An NJHF grant enabled Manvich to begin to elucidate these mechanisms using a relatively new technique called in vivo fiber photometry. It utilizes a biosensor that can be programmed to fluoresce when dopamine neurons are activated.

“This grant from the New Jersey Health Foundation gives us the opportunity to get this brand new equipment up and running at Rowan,” Manvitch said, thus allowing him to: National Institutes of Health for the next stage of his research.

George F. Heinrich, MD, Vice President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Foundation, said: “We are energized by the potentially groundbreaking science being done at this remarkable institution.”

Other Rowan faculty members receiving new NJHF funding include:

  • Dr. Claude Krummenacher, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences and Biological Sciences, for work on developing broad-spectrum antiviral compounds against coronaviruses and herpesviruses.
  • Dr. Ping Lu, Chemistry & Biochemistry, A study of a widely used anti-cancer drug delivery system using 3D scaffolds made from nanofibers.
  • Gary L. Thompson, Ph.D., of Chemical Engineering, for his work on the use of precisely tailored electrical therapy to inhibit cell migration and metastasis in particularly difficult-to-treat types of brain tumors.
  • Dr. Randy Strich, Molecular Biology, Analysis of drug concentrations and combinations used in animal studies of new anticancer drug regimens for pancreatic adenocarcinoma tumors;
  • Dr. Jeremy Francis, Cell Biology & Neuroscience, Study of metabolic risk factors in age-related dementia.
  • Rachel Riley, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, for her work on engineering lipid nanoparticles as a novel approach to treat pre-eclampsia.
  • Dr. Rashanique Quarels, Chemistry and Biochemistry, research on the development of flexible platforms for the synthesis of the antibiotic vancomycin and related glycopeptides.
  • Katrina Cooper, PhD, Molecular Biology, for her work on the role of the protein cyclin C in disorders involving conformational abnormalities of the TDP-43 protein.
  • Dr. Mitja Trkov (Mechanical Engineering) for research into the use of soft robotic instrument pads to prevent pressure ulcers in bed-bound and wheelchair-bound patients.
  • Dr. Behrad Koohbor, Mechanical Engineering, Study of correlations between mechanical properties of orthopedic shoe midsoles and user performance.
  • Dr. Christina Simmons of Psychology for developing and testing training for virtual reality doctors on compassionate treatment of patients with autism.
  • Lisa Bodenheimer of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging trains advanced care planning facilitators for state-funded programs and multi-family housing sites for seniors.



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