Spectrum awards innovation grants to 23 projects

- By Kris Newby

Twenty-three biomedical teams from Stanford have received a total of $867,184 in research funding through the Spectrum innovation grant program.

Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education, is focused on accelerating the translation of medical research from bench to bedside. Its innovation grants are awarded to investigators with bold ideas that address health-care problems through novel approaches and multidisciplinary teams.

This year, grants were awarded in five areas: medical technologies; therapeutics; population health; community engagement; and a new category, diagnostics and predictive medicine.

The investigators and projects receiving funds are as follows:

Medical technologies

  • A cost-effective solution for management of perioperative normothermia — Peter Santa Maria, MD, instructor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery; John Brock-Utne, MD, PhD, clinical professor emeritus of anesthesia; Brian Kannard, Stanford MBA student; and Abhinav Ramani, former Global Biodesign fellow.
  • Smartphone-based ophthalmic imaging system for remote triage — Robert Chang, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology; resident David Myung, MD, PhD, Byers Eye Institute at Stanford; Mark Blumenkranz, MD, professor and chair of ophthalmology.
  • An in-situ, non-invasive method to monitor oxidative stress and gastrointestinal cancer progression — George Fisher, MD, PhD, Colleen Haas Chair in the School of Medicine; mechanical engineering graduate students Victor Mill, Mitchell Spearrin and Christopher Strand; Amato Giaccia, PhD, professor of radiation oncology; Ron Hanson, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering.
  • Real-time visualization of beam position and dosimetry of radiation therapy — Dominik Naczynski, PhD, postdoctoral scholar in radiation physics; Cesare Jenkins, graduate student in mechanical engineering; Lei Xing, PhD, professor of radiation physics.
  • An intracranial access device for minimally invasive evacuation of recurrent subdural hematoma — Stanley Hoang, MD, neurosurgery resident; Maziyar Kalani, MD, neurosurgery resident; Gordon Li, MD, assistant professor of neurosurgery.
  • An ex-vivo gross study of radio-frequency-based denervation of pulmonary artery tissue: A translational study with implications in therapy device development for pulmonary hypertension — Swami Gnanashanmugam, MD, cardiovascular medicine postdoctoral scholar; Jeffrey Feinstein, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and of cardiology.


  • Repurposing a biologic therapy for treatment of neuromyelitis optica — Alexandra Goodyear, MD, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences.
    Repurposing approved drugs against dengue virus — Vijay Pande, PhD, professor of chemistry; Karla Kirkegaard, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology; Shirit Einav, MD, assistant professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology.
  • Developing a new class of small molecule inhibitors of mTORC for treatment of tuberous sclerosis complex — Tobias Meyer, PhD, professor of chemical and systems biology and the Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Cell Biology.
  • Repurposing an approved drug against a novel target for Alzheimer's disease — Mehrdad Shamloo, PhD, associate professor of neurosurgery.
  • Pan-genotypic small molecule inhibitors of influenza A virus — Jeffrey Glenn, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology; Rachel Hagey, graduate student in microbiology and immunology; Rhiju Das, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry.

Population health sciences

  • Land-use change, social networks and cross-species disease transmission in western Uganda — Laura Bloomfield, graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.
  • Social and environmental determinants of DNA methylation: A population-based study — David Rehkopf, ScD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine.
  • Online cognitive-behavioral therapy for mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression in adolescents and young adults with chronic illness — Christy Sandborg, MD, professor of pediatrics.
  • Health coaching in a population management program to reduce stroke and vascular risk — Waimei Tai, MD, clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurological sciences. From the Clinical Excellence Research Center: Lucy Kalanithi, MD, postdoctoral scholar; Jared Conley, graduate student; Arnie Milstein, MD, professor of medicine and center director.
  • A comprehensive decision analysis framework supporting international chronic hepatitis-B control policy — Mehlika Toy, PhD, Asian Liver Center postdoctoral scholar; Samuel So, MD, professor of surgery.

Community engagement

  • Fighting food insecurity and hunger in East Palo Alto: Evaluation and dissemination of a collaborative public-private partnership model — Lisa Chamberlain, MD, MPH, assistant professor of pediatrics.
  • HealthyU and environmental conservation: A shared journey — Eunice Rodriguez, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics.
  • Incorporating historical and intergenerational trauma to prevent diabetes in urban American Indians — Lisa Goldman Rosas, PhD, instructor of medicine.

Diagnostics and predictive medicine

  • Assessment and prediction of age-related macular degeneration progression through quantitative imaging biomarkers — Daniel Rubin, MD, assistant professor of radiology and of biomedical informatics; Luis duSisternes, PhD in radiology; and Ted Leng, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Byers Eye Institute.
  • The diagnosis and characterization of major depressive disorder by applying machine learning methods to human neuroimaging data — Matthew Sacchet, graduate student in neurosciences; Gautam Prasad, PhD, psychology visiting scholar; Ian Gotlib, PhD, professor and chair of psychology.
  • First in-human clinical trial of manganese-enhanced MRI (MeMRI) to assess peri-infarct injury — Phillip Yang, MD, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine.
  • Development of non-invasive, laser-based breath-ammonia sensor for urea-cycle-defect diagnosis and monitoring — Gregory Enns, MD, director of the Biochemical Genetics Program and associate professor of pediatrics.

Spectrum innovation grants are administered by Biodesign (medical technologies), SPARK (therapeutics), Population Health Sciences, the Office of Community Health (community engagement) and the new Stanford Predictives and Diagnostics Accelerator, called SPADA, (diagnostics and predictive medicine). All are funded through Spectrum's $45.3 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.

2024 ISSUE 1

Psychiatry’s new frontiers