Funded Projects

An Innovative Approach to Restoration of Function in Chronic Ischemic Stroke Using a New Wearable Multifocal Brain Stimulator

Principal Investigators: Santosh Helekar, MD, PhD & David Chiu, MD
Goal: To test the long-term effectiveness of a new magnetic brain stimulation treatment on motor functions in chronic ischemic stroke patients. The two-week test allows, for the first time, magnetic stimulation of two or more connected cortical areas simultaneously through one wearable device.

Pre-transplant TCR Clonality Assessment to Predict Post-Liver Transplant Patient Survival


Principal Investigators: R. Mark Ghobrial, MD, PhD & Xian Li, MD, PhD
Biostatistician: Beverly Shirkey, PhD
Goal: To investigate the ability of the clonality of T-cells to predict futile liver transplants. Discovering reliable pre-transplant markers to predict liver transplant survival would be a milestone in transplantation, and holds the potential for developing a clinical algorithm to avoid futile liver transplants.

Neurostimulation Therapy for Advanced Stroke Care

Principal Investigators: Philip J. Horner, PhD & Gavin W. Britz, MD
Goal: To develop a neural stimulation induced therapy, or nSIM for acute stroke patients. This nSIM device will be incorporated into standard of care procedures for severe stroke patients to help provide a neurological protective effect. This therapy would provide a much less invasive alternative to other neurostimulation devices currently on the market and could lead to remarkable improvement in the management of stroke.


Principal Investigators: Biana Godin, MScPharm, PhD, Jerrie Refuerzo, MD & Monica Longo, MD, PhD
Goal: To target drugs directly to the mother’s middle uterine wall – the smooth muscle of the uterine myometrium – would cause no harm to the fetus while simultaneously preventing preterm labor. They propose to transport via liposomes a combination of the most effective anti-contraction drugs directly to the myometrium, a procedure that has the potential to transform care for labor and delivery units at hospitals worldwide.


Principal Investigators: Haifa Shen, MD, PhD
Goal: To use a nanotechnology-based cancer vaccine (NanoVax) for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Early studies have shown that loading cancer-fighting antigens into silicon microparticles protects them from premature destruction and stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells that overexpress the HER2 antigen, a cell surface receptor that is overexpressed in the tumor cells of 15 to 30 percent of breast cancer patients. A vaccine against HER2+ cells would train the immune system’s more destructive agents to recognize the cancer cells overproducing HER2 and destroy them, leaving healthy cells more or less alone. The introduction of this vaccine would be one of the first of its kind and transform the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer.