Pacific northwest bioMedical Innovation Co-Laboratory (PMedIC)

2024 OHSU Innovation Grants Announced

October 31, 2023 | Carolyn Kim

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Precision Medicine Innovation Co-Laboratory (PMedIC) Innovation Grant supports collaborative pilot projects between OHSU and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers as part of the formal partnership called PMedIC. For 2024, two awards of $50K each were funded. These will be offered annually. The RFA wll be in July with LOIs due in August.

An Integrated Approach to Understanding Vulnerability to Tuberculosis among Young Children

OHSU researcher Chris Lancioni, PhD, and PNNL scientist and PMedIC Co-Director Josh Adkins, PhD, will work in collaboration to understand why some young children are highly vulnerable to Tuberculosis (TB) while others remain healthy despite proven exposure to the highly contagious infection. To define the immunobiology of TB disease in early childhood, a systems biology approach incorporating a diverse data selection will be required.

Tuberculosis remains a leading cause of death worldwide. As a Pediatrician with experience working in TB-endemic countries, Lancioni has observed the devastating toll that TB takes on young children and their families. The team is motivated to understand why some young children are highly vulnerable to TB so that we can contribute to the advancement of improved vaccination strategies to eliminate this terrible disease.

The long-term goal of this project is to determine the role of trained immunity in protecting young children from TB and determining if there are ways to modify trained immune responses to prevent the development of TB following an exposure.

Defining the lipid and protein composition of purified Zika virus particles

Building on a long-term collaboration, this team has aspired to conduct lipidomics and proteomics studies on purified flaviviruses. However, purifying the virion presented challenges. Recently, the research team achieved a significant breakthrough by developing nanobodies specific to the Zika virus. The PMedIC grant offered a prime opportunity to embark on this crucial research. Additionally, after learning about the NIH Collaborative Program Grant for Multidisciplinary Teams RFA, the researchers believe the expertise of both the PNNL and OHSU teams and the impact of this grant will position them to develop a highly competitive application.

The primary objective of this proposal is to pinpoint the lipid and protein components constituting the Zika virus particles. Achieving this would be monumental, as it would mark the first time that the precise constituents of flavivirus virions have been determined, thereby paving the way for future research.

The successful accomplishment of these objectives would represent a significant progression in understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying flavivirus pathogenesis. This enhanced knowledge is crucial in developing effective therapeutic strategies against diseases caused by flaviviruses.