Drs. Capitini and Cengiz Awarded Pilot Grants From UW-ICTR

Congratulations to Christian Capitini, MD, and Pelin Cengiz, MD, who were both awarded $50,000 pilot grants from the UW-ICTR, funded by NIH-NCATS UL1 TR0000427.

Christian Capitini, MD is collaborating with Peiman Hematti, MD (Medicine-Hematology/Oncology), on his project, “Infusing MEMs as protection from radiation injury and GVHD.” Leveraging local expertise in developing cellular therapies as well as in mesenchymal stem cells, this project will characterize mesenchymal stem cells (MEMs) in vitro by analyzing cell surface molecule expression and cytokine production. This project will also test the potency of human MEMs in 2 xenograft models of radiation injury – a GVHD model induced by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and a radiation injury model in immunodeficient mice that can tolerate human MEM infusions. Results from this proposal may lead to a novel cellular therapy, as being the first clinical indication for human macrophages, that could be applied to medical and nonmedical setting involving radiation, and could be rapidly translatable to the clinic.

Pelin Cengiz, MD, is collaborating with John Levine, PhD (Neuroscience and the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center), on her project, “Role of estrogen receptor alpha in sex-specific neuroprotection by a TrkB agonist.” Male neonates are more susceptible to hypoxia ischemia (HI) related brain injury, respond less to existing treatments, and develop cerebral palsy and learning disabilities at higher rates. This proposal will identify some of the mechanisms resulting in sexually differential response to HI in immature brains. Understanding these mechanisms will guide us through implementing translational treatment strategies to improve the neurological outcome after neonatal HI.