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Life sciences research grants awarded through Inova Health System and George Mason University

FAIRFAX, Va.What do you get when you mix a world-class health system with an innovative, entrepreneurial university? A very successful research collaboration.

For more than a decade, researchers at Northern Virginia's Inova Health System and George Mason University have been collaborating on groundbreaking research on obesity, liver disease and cancer. In 2009, the two took the relationship one step further with the establishment of the Inova Life Sciences Research Collaboration Fund George Mason University in which Inova Health System provided Mason with $1 million to stimulate and enhance collaborative research in the life sciences.

The second installment of the fund was presented by Zobair Younossi, vice president of research at Inova Health System, to Roger Stough, vice president for research and economic development at Mason, on May 13. The 2010 funding program is now open and accepting applications until July 1. To view this year's guidelines, visit

"The hope of this fund is to encourage additional areas of research collaboration between investigators at Mason and Inova and it has been very successful so far in doing so," says Younossi. "Our research results will be used to implement discoveries in new disease biomarkers and develop individualized treatment protocols and outcomes research projects that we hope will help our patients in the long term."

Last September, 16 two-year grants were awarded to health researchers from Mason and Inova Health System through the fund to study issues related to chronic disease management, obesity, heart disease, stroke, end-of-life provisions, genomics, proteomics, ethical issues and patient experience.

"I am most pleased with the development of this program that includes 16 teams of joint Inova-Mason researchers all focusing on a clinical/medical advanced research issue or problem," says Stough. "The collaborative nature of this program is contributing to the development of broad research relations and capability between the two organizations. This endeavor is further propelling the extension of not only research but also personnel decisions that in turn are deepening regional medical and clinical research capability and capacity."

Grantees for 2009-2010 are as follows:

  • $40,000 to Deborah Boehm-Davis (Mason Principal Investigator), Nicole Werner (Mason) and Maureen Burke (Inova) for "Developing Procedures to Reduce Medical Errors"

  • $40,000 to Jim X. Chen (Mason Principal Investigator ), Jihui Li (Inova), Mark M. Theiss (Inova) and Craig E. Cheifetz (Inova) for "The Development of VKASS: A Virtual Knee Anatomy and Surgery System"

  • $40,000 to Frank Krueger (Mason Principal Investigator), Roberty Lipsky (Inova), Kevin A. McCabe (Mason) for "Variation at the Oxytocin Receptor Gene Influences Responsivity of Neural Circuitry for Interpersonal Trust: Developing Molecular Markers for Neuropsychiatric Disorders"

  • $40,000 to Monique van Hoek (Mason Principal Investigator) and Shahzad Ahmad (Inova) for "Antimicrobial Peptides in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"

  • $20,000 to Siddhatha Sikdar (Mason Principal Investigator), Margaret Griffen (Inova), Anne Rizzo (Inova), Tayseer Aldaghlas (Inova), Christopher Michetti (Inova), Urszula Bartlett (Mason) and Linda Robinson (Inova) for "Novel Methods for Sonographic Evaluation of Blunt Cervical Vascular Injuries"

  • $20,000 to Y. Tony Yang (Mason Principal Investigator) and Linda Henry (Inova) for "The Perioperative Nurse's Role in Error Recovery: From Assessing Characteristics of Near Errors to Developing Interventions for Improving the Quality of Surgical Care"

  • $10,000 to Randall E. Keyser (Mason Principal Investigator) and Jack Wilkenfeld (Inova) for "Muscle Oxygenation and Cardiorespiratory Function in Women with SLE: Exercise Responses and Training Adaptations"

  • $10,000 to Panagiota Kitsansas (Mason Principal Investigator) and Richard T. Benson (Inova) for "Novel Risk Factors and Management Strategies for Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and Stroke: The Inova Fairfax Stroke Database"

  • $10,000 to Timothy F. Leslie (Mason Principal Investigator), Lisa R. Pawloski (Mason), Zobair Younossi (Inova Advisor), Jillian B. Kallman (Inova), Yun Fang (Inova) for "The Socio-geographic Determinants of Patients with Chronic Liver Disease"

  • $10,000 to Jessica Lin (Mason Principal Investigator), Margot D. Ahronovich (Inova), Fern Litman (Inova), Ida Sue Baron (Inova), Oral Alpan (Inova), Kristine Erickson (Inova) and Robin Baker (Inova) for "Neuroanatomical Correlates and Biomarkers of Extremely Low Birth Weight Outcomes at 18 Months Corrected Age"

  • $10,000 to P.J. Maddox (Mason Principal Investigator) and Patricia L. Conway-Morana (Inova) to "Quantify the Contribution of Nursing to Medical Surgical Patient Care Systems at Inova Health System Hospitals"

  • $10,000 to Margaret M. Mahon (Mason Co- Principal Investigator), Anne M. Nicotera (Mason Co- Principal Investigator), Xiaoquan Zhao (Mason) and Patricia L. Conway-Morana (Inova) for "Improving Patient Care through Understanding the Nursing Workplace"

  • $10,000 to Iosif Vaisman (Mason Principal Investigator), David Wheeler (Inova), Majid Masso (Mason) and Donald Poretz (Inova) for "Knowledge-based Computational Models of Drug Resistance in Patients with HIV"

  • $10,000 to Melinda Villagran (Mason Principal Investigator), DeWitt Webster (Mason), Nicholas Robert (Inova) and Paul Clark (Mason) for "Project 6C: Improving Adjuvant Oral Drug Adherence Among Diverse Patients with Limited Health Literacy"

  • $10,000 to Qiuping Zhou (Mason Principal Investigator) and Kirsten Hakala Edmiston (Inova) for "Oncology Patients' Trust in Physicians and Health Outcomes"

  • and $10,000 to Edmund Zolnik (Mason Principal Investigator), David Wong (Mason), Anne G. Rizzo (Inova) and Linda Robinson (Inova) for "Analysis of Pedestrian- and Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Crashes in the Fairfax County Region"


Contact: Marjorie Musick
George Mason University

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