Tag Archives: CTSA

A&T researcher’s work on COPD among ag workers wins support from NC TraCS program for scholars

Dr. Jenora Waterman has made one key discovery toward improving the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among agricultural workers, and now she’s been accepted into a prestigious career development program to advance her research.

Headshot of Dr. Waterman

Dr. Jenora Waterman

Dr. Waterman is an assistant professor of functional genomics in the Department of Animal Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. COPD is a major cause of death in the United States, most typically found among smokers. A less studied aspect of the disease is the 7% of its U.S. victims who are agricultural workers. They can develop COPD as a result of long-term exposure to animal production facilities containing dust that contributes to respiratory diseases.

High-density swine production houses are one example of such facilities.

Dr. Waterman’s first key finding came from comparing pigs raised indoors with those raised outdoors. Pigs aren’t as severely affected by the dust as humans are, but her work demonstrated that their respiratory systems are uniquely adapted to their housing type.

“My lab recently showed for the first time that pigs reared indoors and those raised outdoors exhibit structural and cellular differences in their respiratory systems,” Dr. Waterman says.

“The next step will be studying those differences to identify potential biomarkers that could serve as diagnostic or prognostic markers of agriculture-related COPD in humans.”

Dr. Waterman will take that step as an NC TraCS K-Scholar, a professional development honor for junior faculty members funded through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program of the National Institutes of Health.

Continue reading

N.C. A&T researchers generating headlines

This week’s two major announcements are producing positive news coverage for research at N.C. A&T.

News 14 Carolina covered  the announcement of the Engineering Research Center collaborating with InCube Labs to commercialize its metallic biomaterials technology.

Screen capture of TV news report

Click on the photo to go to the News 14 Carolina report

The Business Journal was all over that story as well.

“Scientists at N.C. A&T and ERC partners such as the University of Pittsburgh and University of Cincinnati are developing new materials, primarily magnesium alloys, designed to adapt to the human body and grow after implantation without having to be refitted, and then later safely absorbed into the bloodstream without ill effects. That could change the way that children born with birth defects, injured soldiers and others with major bone damage are treated.

“There are myriad possible uses for such materials, and the job of InCube Labs will be to identify which have the best potential to be translated into practical products quickly. InCube was founded by Mir Imran, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has founded more than 20 life-science companies and holds more than 200 patents.”

And the editorial page of The News & Observer in Raleigh published an editorial, “Huge grant spotlights how universities benefit state’s economy,” about the $54.6 million clinical and translational science project to be conducted by UNC-CH, A&T, and RTI International, and a similar award to Duke. They hope the awards send a message to North Carolina’s governor:

“Let’s hope those Republican legislators and Gov. Pat McCrory, who have made an issue of how universities should focus on training people for jobs instead of educating them in, say, arts and literature, take note of what’s going on here. Universities do train people for the workforce, but they’re also about ideas, about opening minds, about exploring new horizons.”

A&T, RTI to partner with UNC-CH on $54.6M project to advance clinical and translational science

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded a five-year $54.6 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. With the award, UNC-CH will partner with two institutions, RTI International and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, to accelerate the pace at which clinical and translational research directly benefits patients and communities in North Carolina.

The grant is NIH’s second to support the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute. The project is expanding to include RTI International as a research partner and N.C. A&T as a planning partner.

The partnership with A&T will give UNC researchers access to the state-of-the-art laboratories at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, while providing NC A&T faculty collaborative opportunities and financial resources to accelerate discoveries in the lab to patients, particularly those from underrepresented minorities. 

“Together, we will develop a robust pipeline of minority clinical and translational research scientists in a manner that can be a model for the nation,” said Barry L. Burks, N.C. A&T’s Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development.

The institutions will focus on three strategic initiatives:

Continue reading