University of Denver & National Jewish Health Seed Grant Awardees
The University of Denver and National Jewish Health offer a collaborative opportunity to generate novel research and new discoveries at the forefront of health research and healthcare and community sustainability for full-time faculty members at both institutions.
Funding for this collaborative opportunity is graciously provided by DU alumnus Lewis J. Hoch, Esq.
More information about applying for this funding can be found on the Research & Scholarship's internal funding page.
Identification of Novel Biomarkers Unique to "Long-Hauler" COVID-19 Patients with Neurological Symptoms
Daniel Linseman, Professor, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, University of Denver
Jinny Tavee, Associate Professor, Medicine, National Jewish Health
Project Abstract: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Symptoms usually resolve within several weeks; however, a significant fraction of COVID-19 patients experience prolonged symptoms that last many months post-infection. These patients are known as “long haulers” and many suffer from chronic neurological manifestations including brain fog, headaches, dizziness, psychological distress, and cognitive or motor dysfunction. Mechanisms underlying the long-term neurological sequelae associated with COVID-19 have not been defined and no biomarkers have been identified to help predict or treat the affected patients. This study will provide preliminary data for serum and exosome analysis of the COVID-19 “long-haulers,” to determine whether novel biomarker methods can be developed to predict or treat neurological symptoms in those with long-term problems after infection.
Health Effects of Vaping in Young Adults
Russell Bowler, Professor, Medicine, National Jewish Health
Hong Wei Chu, Professor, Medicine, National Jewish Health
Nancy Lorenzon, Teaching Professor, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, University of Denver
Project Abstract: E-cigarette use has been rapidly increasing in young adults and frequent use has been associated with adverse reparatory symptoms such as cough and sputum production. However, there is little known about the short and especially long-term consequences of more prevalent exposures such as vaping. This project will test whether young adults who frequently vape have early evidence of lung injury including impaired lung volumes and mild lung and systemic inflammation. Our hypothesis is that young adults who frequently vape will have early evidence of lung injury including impaired lung volumes and mild airway epithelium and systemic inflammation.
Characterizing the Immunologic Landscape of Adolescent Depressive Symptoms Using Combined Single Cell Proteomics and Transcriptomics
Erica Manczak, Assistant Professor, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Denver
Brian O'Connor, Associate Professor, Pediatrics, National Jewish Health
Project Abstract: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a prevalent, recurrent, and often tragic disorder that affects nearly 25% of children and adolescents nationally. Aberrations in immunological processes are increasingly implicated in the development of depressive symptoms, however, research to date has primarily focused on a limited number of non-specific immune parameters that only provide evidence of gross inflammatory differences. To drive discovery into additional factors that contribute to depressive risk, the current project seeks to pilot cutting-edge molecular approaches with substantially enhanced specificity, rigor, and precision to identify new immunological parameters for further study.
Alterations in Sleep Health, Early Childhood Stress, and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Jena Doom, Associate Professor, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Denver
Lisa Meltzer, Professor, Pediatrics, National Jewish Health
Project Abstract: Psychosocial stress in early childhood has been linked to poorer cardiovascular health, with behavioral and biological alterations as potential mechanisms. Two proposed mechanisms between early stress and poorer cardiovascular health later in life are alterations in sleep quality and alterations in iron status following early psychosocial stress. Low ferritin, a marker of poor iron status, has been associated with restless sleep. It is currently unknown whether low ferritin levels and poorer sleep may mediate the association between early psychosocial stress and poorer cardiovascular health in adolescence. The goal of this project is to understand whether low ferritin and poor sleep are pathways between early childhood stress and poorer cardiovascular health in adolescence.
Addressing Pediatric Anxiety in Medical Care Settings: Development and Pilot Testing of a Web-Based Anxiety Toolkit
Genery Booster, Associate Professor, Pediatric Behavioral Health, National Jewish Health
Michelle Rozenman, Assistant Professor, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Denver
Project Abstract: Anxiety is the most common mental health problem across development, affecting up to 30% of children and adolescents before they reach age 18. The presence of medical problems and the COVID-19 pandemic have each been shown to increase rates of youth anxiety. This proposal involves an interdisciplinary collaboration between a clinical scientist with expertise in pediatric anxiety assessment and intervention at the University of Denver (DU; Co-PI Rozenman) and a pediatric psychologist providing psychosocial intervention within a specialized medical setting for youth with allergic diseases at National Jewish Health (NJH; Co-PI Booster).
Piloting Procedures for the Study of Asthma, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Intimate Partner Violence
Anne DePrince, Professor, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Denver
Eileen Wang, Assistant Professor, Medicine, National Jewish Health
Project Abstract: Intimate partner violence (IPV)–a severe, highly prevalent, but poorly recognized stressor involving repeated cycles of abuse–is associated with worsened adult asthma outcomes. Furthermore, traumatic brain injury (TBI) co-occurs at high rates in IPV survivors. IPV, traumatic stress, and difficult-to-control asthma have been associated with type 3 inflammation. The objective of this study is to conduct a pilot study targeting two key probable mechanisms behind the relationship between IPV and asthma: 1) type 3 inflammation and 2) traumatic brain injury.
Using Data-Driven AI Techniques to Model Exposure Risks to Ambient Air Pollution at Localized Scales in the Denver-Metro Area
James Crooks, Associate Professor, Biomedical Research, National Jewish Health
Jing Li, Associate Professor, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, University of Denver
Project Abstract: Providing precise, near-real time, and localized air pollution exposure assessments is critical to environmental health research and applications. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for high-quality exposure assessments to aid in the understanding of the spatial association between air pollution and the severity and mortality of COVID-19. This interdisciplinary project aims to address this need through estimation of localized exposure levels to air pollutants using environmental and socio-demographic factors and by predicting personalized exposure estimations informed by socio-demographic and activity profiles.