Navigation Links
NIH fellow uses computation, experimentation to study diabetes, obesity

Stephanie Nicole "Nikki" Lewis, a graduate student in the interdisciplinary doctoral program in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Predoctoral Research through the National Institutes of Health for her study of a cellular signaling receptor that is associated with chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Lewis is applying a combination of computational modeling and experimental methods to identify molecules that can activate peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPAR ), which is a therapeutic target for suppressing inflammation. The search for drugs targeting the receptor is urgently needed since use of current drugs to treat type II diabetes by binding to PPAR , like the recently restricted Avandia (GlaxoSmithKline), results in adverse side effects. A goal of Lewis' research is to identify novel, orally active naturally occurring compounds with therapeutic potential due to their insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory actions. The computational methods are used to quickly and inexpensively screen large numbers of compounds, from which a small number are selected for experimental validation in vitro and through pre-clinical animal studies.

This project entitled "Virtual Screening Development to Complement Experimental Screening for PPAR Modulators to Treat Type II Diabetes Mellitus" is primarily funded through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of NIH.

Lewis is working jointly with David Bevan, professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Josep Bassaganya-Riera, associate professor in the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (

"The strength of Nikki's research lies not only in the combination of computational and experimental methods, but also in her approach that will unravel details of the events that accompany PPAR  activation, thereby making the drug discovery process more rational," Bevan said.

"Nikki's successful NIH proposal builds upon ongoing collaborative research between Dr. Bevan and NIMML aimed at streamlining the drug and nutraceutical discovery process. In addition, Nikki's project leverages and extends the scope of studies conducted by the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens. Specifically, this effort is in line with the goal of discovering novel broad-based immune therapeutics for gastrointestinal infectious diseases by creating computational models of the mucosal immune system and sets the stage for multi-scale modeling in drug discovery," Bassaganya-Riera said.


Contact: Lori Greiner
Virginia Tech

Related biology news :

1. Green light for EU co-funding of TUM Institute for Advanced Study fellowships
2. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 18 top young scientists
3. Entomological Society of America names 2011 fellows
4. Weatherstone Fellows publish research as Autism Speaks announces 2011 Weatherstone Fellows
5. Top Latin-American scientists named 2011 Pew Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences
6. Rensselaer scholar receives NSF Research Fellowship
7. ASPB awards 15 summer undergraduate research fellowships
8. OGI awards summer research fellowships to 7 Ontario students
9. 5 UH graduates receive NSF fellowships for further study
10. Top Australian malaria researcher elected Fellow of the Royal Society
11. Fellowship to UC Riverside botanist encourages Hispanic students to take up research
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
NIH fellow uses computation, experimentation to study diabetes, obesity
(Date:10/26/2015)... PALO ALTO, Calif. and LAS ... – Nok Nok Labs , an innovator in ... FIDO Alliance , today announced the launch of its ... the first unified platform enabling organizations to use standards-based ... authentication. The Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... Oct. 23, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "Global Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... --> The global voice recognition biometrics market to ... --> --> The ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs ...
(Date:10/22/2015)...  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier of ... quarter ended September 30, 2015.  --> ... $4.0 million, a decrease of 33% compared to $6.0 million in ... of 2015 was $2.2 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, which ... same period a year ago.  --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 ... (the "Series B Warrants") subject to the previously ... November 23, 2015, which will result in the ... effect to the issuance of such shares, there ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh ... Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process ... series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Creation Technologies would like to ... Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest growing companies in North ... II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth movement by as much as ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced that ... scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray Healthcare ... at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: