Translational Research Award Program

The Translational Research Award Program (TRAP) is designed to encourage collaboration between University of Oregon investigators and research-active clinicians, and to foster the development of new, non-traditional research teams.

Brain Function Recovery of Young Athletes after Concussion

Summary: In collaboration with the Eugene and Bethel school districts, researchers seek to better identify and understand lingering impairments of concussions suffered by athletes and to improve assessment and rehabilitation programs. High school athletes who suffer concussions and a control group of uninjured subjects will undergo testing. Researchers will focus on gait analyses and attention deficits in orientation and execution during movement, as well as cognitive and physical functions during recovery.

Investigators: Michael Koester, MD, Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; Li-Shan Chou, PhD, University of Oregon Professor of Human Physiology.


Role of the Alkaline Phosphatase Protein in Early Development of Human Intestines

Summary: Researchers will measure the protein in the stool of newborns of different gestational ages to determine if age correlates with levels produced in the neonatal intestine. Studies of zebrafish have found the protein detoxifies lipopolysaccharide, a pro-inflammatory component of cell walls of Gram-negative bacteria. In zebrafish, deficits in the protein result in excessive inflammatory responses to resident gut bacteria. Researchers hope to pinpoint the protein's emergence in infants and explore whether deficits in the protein are linked to disease, such as necrotizing enterocolitis.

Investigators: Rebecca C. Bent, MD, Neonatal Specialist at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend; Karen Guillemin, PhD, Professor of Biology and member of the University of Oregon Institute of Molecular Biology.


Exercise, Histamine Receptors and Vascular Function in Aging

Summary: Researchers look at the benefits of endurance exercise training to cardiovascular health as people age. Project proposes to build on John Halliwill’s long-running research by focusing on the connection of intramuscular histamine receptors to improvements in the inner lining of blood vessels and vascular function. They hope to identify a key pathway and possibly the mechanism involved in such improvements and pursue a larger federally funded project.

Investigators: John R. Halliwill, University of Oregon Associate Professor in Human Physiology; Richard C. Padgett, MD, Executive Medical Director of the Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.


Understanding the Regulation of Shunt Vessels in the Lungs of Healthy Humans

Summary: Researchers seek to understand the regulation of inducible intrapulmonary arteriovenous anastomoses to reroute blood flow through the lung. These pathways are linked to a reduction in the ability of the lungs to get oxygen into the blood as well as conditions that increase susceptibility to migraines, ischemia of brain tissues, and strokes. Researchers seek to identify the mechanisms that control blood flow through shunt vessels under both high and low oxygen conditions.

Investigators: Mathews Fish, MD, Director of Nuclear Medicine at Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend; John R. Halliwill, Associate Professor of Human Physiology at University of Oregon.


Development of Simple, Rapid Tests to Diagnose Sepsis and Its Severity Level

Summary: A pilot study to evaluate the ability of MitoSciences Inc.’s prototype tests that measure activities of mitochondrial proteins in blood to detect and monitor the progression of sepsis. If the tests show diagnostic utility, the researchers will pursue federal funding for a larger, definitive clinical study of improved diagnostic devices. Sepsis is linked to 9 percent of deaths in the United States annually.

Investigators: Robert Pelz, MD, Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine Specialist at PeaceHealth Medical Group; Michael F. Marusich of MitoSciences, Inc, a University of Oregon biotechnology spinoff.


Development of Web-Based Assistive Tools to Enhance Community Independence in Patients with Cognitive Impairments due to Brain Injury or Stroke

Summary: Researchers will work with PeaceHealth clinicians and patients to expand the functionality of a web-based prompting system that delivers navigation reminders on web-capable cellular phones. The team will develop an interface that allows therapists to select and evaluate prompts designed to increase self-monitoring and awareness in people with cognitive impairments.

Investigators: McKay Moore Sohlberg, University of Oregon Professor of Special Education and Clinical Sciences; Stephen Fickas, University of Oregon Professor of Computer and Information Sciences; Linda Loring, PeaceHealth Speech-Language Pathologist.