Researchers at the University of Houston (UH) have been awarded more than $862,000 in federal grants to pursue projects related to prostate cancer, diabetes and obesity. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) will fund two new prostate cancer projects, while a third NIH grant will support diabetes and obesity research in the UH Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling (CNRCS). The center's research projects now account for eight active NIH grants, a key indicator in Tier One rankings.
"Success in today's competitive federal funding landscape is validation of the motivation and ingenuity of our researchers," said Dr. Jan--ke Gustafsson, director of CNRCS. "With these new awards we are now able to explore new avenues of investigation into the treatment and prevention of these important diseases."
The DOD awarded a grant of more than $337,000 this month to fund assistant professor Daniel Frigo's project, "CaMKK beta-AMPK Signaling Axis as a Biomarker and Therapeutic Target for Advanced Prostate Cancer." Prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in American men, is a major research focus of the Frigo laboratory. The award will further the team's work with CaMKK beta-AMPK, a signaling pathway that may be an effective target for treating prostate cancer. The project is scheduled to begin by the end of June.
"Grants are critical to our research, not only for funding but also building and maintaining a reputable track record on the national level," said Frigo. "Our team is eager to begin these new projects as we focus on identifying drug targets for possible clinical trials in the next phases of research."
Last month, Frigo additionally was awarded a $150,000 grant from the NIH's National Cancer Institute to expand his established research involving the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. The project, "Modulation of Branched-Chain Fatty Acids for the Prevention of Prostate Cancer," will examine how the convergence of specific biological cues and our diets may function to promote cancer and could provide guidance for preventing the disease. The project is Frigo's third to be funded by the NIH, since joining the center in 2010.