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1,500 Projects Supported through the Office of Research Services

Local teens who participated in an "artificial pancreas" study
Photo by Robert A. Lisak
Local teens who participated in an "artificial pancreas" study for Type 1 diabetes and research staff having fun at City Climb, Science Park, New Haven L to R: Jacob Conte, Rachel Hicks, Anthony Alvarez, Clinical Research Nurse Amy Steffen, Study Lead Investigator Stuart Weinzimer, Jacob Liedke, Tara Claflin

YCCI supports team-based T1 to T4 research across the lifespan through the Office of Research Services (ORS). Over the past ten years, the number of fully dedicated central support staff has increased from 21 FTEs in 2006 to more than 100 FTEs today. This allows us to provide almost 1,500 services each year to approximately 600 faculty members.

Examples of YCCI-supported faculty and their research include: 

Roy Herbst, MD, PhD 

(Professor and Section Chief, Medical Oncology), who is investigating using RNA expression and immunohistochemistry to track the response of cancer patients to immunotherapy with an engineered anti-PD-L1 antibody. One of his recent multicenter studies indicated that patients whose pre-existing immunity has been suppressed by PD-L1 are most sensitive to the antibody; with further study, this may lead to strategies to promote the “cancer immunity cycle.”  Read more… 

Gerald Shulman, MD, PhD 

(Professor of Medicine and HHMI Investigator), who worked with colleagues in the Magnetic Resonance Research Center to develop a novel non-invasive assay of hepatic mitochondrial oxidative and anaplerotic fluxes in humans. They found that fluxes measured directly by 13C MR spectroscopy were several-fold lower than published estimates based on indirect approaches, providing a new and significantly better way to define pathogenesis and seek new therapies for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Richard Lifton, MD, PhD 

(Professor and Chair of Genetics and HHMI Investigator) led a study that identified the genetic mutation that caused a new immunological disorder in an infant with an unexplained inflammatory illness treated at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. Two other family members who had experienced unexplained inflammatory symptoms were found to carry the same mutation. This work has been an impetus for a new YCCI-supported pediatrics initiative in which all infants and children referred to the hospital with unexplained illnesses will be eligible to participate in a comprehensive genetic research program aimed at identifying and characterizing new inherited diseases. Read more… 

William Tamborlane, MD, and Stuart Weinzimer, MD 

(Pediatrics) recently carried out a study to compare the ability of an “artificial pancreas” (an automated feedback-controlled closed-loop insulin pump delivery system) and an open-loop control to prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia, a major risk factor during intensive insulin treatment in type 1 diabetes. The closed loop system was shown to reduce nocturnal hypoglycemia by up to 80% and improve overall glucose values. Read more… 

Rajita Sinha, PhD 

(Psychiatry) conducted an MRI study to examine the effect of childhood maltreatment on substance abuse later in life, using both the Hospital Research Unit and the Magnetic Resonance Research Center. When 79 participants who had experienced childhood maltreatment were compared with 98 controls, the results demonstrated a clear link between childhood maltreatment, decreased gray matter volume in the hippocampal complex of the brain, and an increased risk of relapse from the treatment of substance abuse. 

In Minding the Baby (MTB), Lois Sadler, RN (Nursing) and Linda Mayes, MD (Child Study Center) 

collaborated with the Fair Haven Community Health Center and the Hill Health Center in a home-based intervention to follow young disadvantaged mothers from their 3rd trimester of pregnancy to the child’s 2nd birthday. Intervention families thus far were more likely to fulfill their baby’s immunization schedules at age 1, less likely to be referred to child protective services, and had lower rates of rapid subsequent childbearing. As a result, MTB received USDHHS designation to be eligible for funds from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts. Read more… 

Megan Smith, PhD 

(Child Study Center and a former YCCI Scholar) created MoMba, a web-based social networking app aimed at providing “just in time” support for minority mothers living in high poverty areas and at high risk for depression and anxiety disorders. The project assembled a team of advisors from community members and industry leaders, submitted a training curriculum to Community Mental Health Ambassadors, and obtained initial funding from the Child Health Development Institute of CT and a pilot award from YCCI. Since then, it has received NCI funding to expand to MoMba Smoking, a smartphone application using a sensor that interfaces wirelessly with the app to measure CO in the breath. Read more…