UC Davis Biomedical Engineering

Ferrara and Cherry Receive RISE Awards

Katherine Ferrara

Simon Cherry

UC Davis Biomedical Engineering professors Katherine Ferrara and Simon Cherry have received funding through the Office of Research’s “Research Investments in the Sciences and Engineering (RISE)” program. RISE is a new program to support interdisciplinary research at UC Davis that will lead to new knowledge and technologies that will attract large-scale funding from federal, state, foundation, corporate or other private sources. Of the twelve projects chosen for a RISE Award, six have involvement of Biomedical Engineering faculty.

Dr. Ferrara received funding to develop the “Center for Content Rich Evaluation of Therapeutic Efficacy (cCRETE)”. cCRETE will address the critical need for better tools to identify and screen promising drugs to treat serious diseases, like cancer.  The project will bring together cancer biologists, social scientists, bioinformatics experts and bioengineers, currently collaborating in small groups in a single disciplinary group. The group will develop and validate high throughput biomarker assays for the effect of new therapeutics on invasive cancers such as bladder, colon, pancreas, lung, breast, and glioblastoma. In addition, members of the group have developed novel small molecule therapeutics that effectively inhibit key pathways in these cancers. The group will focus on identifying biomarkers to measure the success of this therapeutic. Collaborating on this project are Steven Currall (Graduate School of Management), Ralph de Vere-White (Comprehensive Cancer Center), Bruce Hammock (Entomology), Dawei Lin (Genome Center), Alexander Revzin (Biomedical Engineering), Clifford Tepper (Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine), and Frederic Gorin (Neurology).

Dr. Cherry has received funding to develop the “Center for Translational Molecular Imaging”.  The grant focuses on building the infrastructure and expertise necessary to translate novel molecular imaging agents and molecular imaging devices for clinical research studies and represents a collaboration between the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Medicine. The grant has two main themes. The first aim is to take a novel molecular imaging agent that has been validated preclinically and to perform “first in human” studies at UC Davis to establish the translational pathway at our institution.The second aim is to fund initial development work for building a whole-body PET scanner with unprecedented sensitivity and body coverage that would represent an advanced imaging platform for new molecular imaging agent assessment. The RISE project represents a collaborative effort between Simon Cherry, Ramsey Badawi, Julie Sutcliffe and Jinyi Qi (all with appointments in Biomedical Engineering) along with Lars Berglund (Director, Clinical and Translational Science Center), Alice Tarantal (Unit Leader, California National Primate Research Center), and Karen Kelly (Director, Phase I Trials, Comprehensive Cancer Center) with the goal of ultimately expanding to provide a home and support for all translational molecular imaging activities at UC Davis.

Biomedical Engineering professors Scott Simon, Fitz-Roy Curry, Jinyi Qi, Ramsey Badawi and Julie Sutcliffe are collaborators on other RISE projects.