Spectrum awards $1.74 million in pilot grants to 43 projects

Stanford’s clinical and translational research center has awarded funding to teams of multidisciplinary investigators who are tackling health care problems through novel approaches.

- By Kris Newby

This year, 43 projects at Stanford will receive a total of $1.74 million in research funding through the Spectrum pilot grant program.

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

Spectrum awarded grants in six areas: population health sciences; learning health care innovation; community engagement; medical technologies; predictive tools and diagnostics; and therapeutics. Awardees are mentored throughout the year by teams of experts in each of these areas.

The grant-receiving projects and their principal investigators are:

Population health sciences

  • “The use of mobile phone technology to prevent and redress gender-based violence in Gujarat, India: Opportunities and barriers” — Jennifer Newberry, JD, MD, instructor of emergency medicine.
  • “Cancer in the elderly: Establishing an infrastructure for research in the elderly at Stanford Medicine” — Ann Hsing, MD, professor of medicine.
  • “Mining the EMR and extant population data sets to define normal human body temperature over time” — Julie Parsonnet, MD, professor of medicine and of health research and policy.   
  • “The effect of anti-immigrant policies on the health of immigrants and ethnic minorities: A quasi-experimental study” — Jens Hainmueller, PhD, professor of political science.
  • “Desperation migration in the developing world: An empirical analysis” — Eran Bendavid, MD, assistant professor of medicine.

Learning health care innovation

  • “Quality, cost and value: Studying the net value of diabetes management” — Karen Eggleston, PhD, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
  • “Toward personalizing and optimizing behavioral interventions in mobile health” —  Jane Paik Kim, PhD, instructor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
  • “Tracking ambulatory care-sensitive condition ER visits and hospitalizations in the context of a primary care redesign” — Marcelle Winget, PhD, clinical associate professor of medicine, and Megan Mahoney, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine.
  • “The immune system and cancers using a gene-centric approach” — Ying Lu, PhD, professor of biomedical data science.
  • “Patient-guided virtual hypertension management” — Lance Downing, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine.        
  • “Population-based health information exchange for cancer prevention: Surveillance for cancer-related infections” — Summer Han, MD, assistant professor of neurosurgery and of medicine.
  • “A population-based analytic resource for diabetes: Solano County health information exchange” — Jennifer Lee, PhD, associate professor of medicine.        
  • “Personalizing vital sign alarms” —  Sarah Poole, graduate student, and Nigam Shah, MBBS, PhD, associate professor of medicine and of biomedical data science.
  • “Machine-learning approaches to predicting medical readiness of new U.S. Army recruits” —  Lianne Kurina, PhD, associate professor of medicine.        

Community engagement

  • “Pilot project to develop an initial infrastructure and data monitoring center for the study and prevention of local suicide clusters” — Rebecca Bernert, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
  • “Stress Experiences in Neighborhood and Social Environments, a pilot project in Santa Clara County” — Benjamin Chrisinger, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Abby King, PhD, professor of health research and policy and of medicine.
  • “Implementing evidence-based mental health care in East Palo Alto school districts” — Flint Espil, PhD, social science research scholar. 

Medical technologies

  • “Management of hyperhidrosis using hydrogel-based iontophoresis” — Véronique Peiffer, PhD, postdoctoral scholar; Marlyanne Pol-Rodriguez, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology; and Justin Huelman, MS, biodesign fellow.
  • “A novel device to decrease post-void residual urine in women with underactive bladder” — Ekene Enemchukwu, MPH, MD, assistant professor of urology, and Elise DeVries, biodesign fellow.
  • “Passive home monitor for objective measures of asthma control in children” — David Cornfield, MD, professor in pediatric pulmonary medicine; Bronwyn Harris, MD, clinical instructor in pediatrics; and Michelle Huffaker, MD, postdoctoral scholar in allergy and immunology.
  • “Development of a hybrid suture anchor-tendon graft for rotator cuff repair” — Dai-Fei Elmer-Ke, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Emilie Cheung, MD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery.
  • “Designing a wearable personal air pollution sensor and filter device for China and beyond” — Eric Sokol, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology; Jan Liphardt, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering; and Robert Chang, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology.
  • “Morphology-based high-throughput isolation of malignant cells in pleural effusions” — Mahdokht Masaeli, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Euan Ashley, MRCP, DPhil, associate professor of medicine, of genetics and of biomedical data science.
  • “An automated oocyte/embryo orientation system for in vitro fertilization” — David Camarillo, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering, and Barry Behr, PhD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
  • “A novel method for personalized prediction of neurostimulation therapy efficacy” — Jin Hyung-Lee, MD, assistant professor of neurology, of neuruosurgery and of bioengineering, and Kevin Graber, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences.
  • “A low-cost, rapid, point-of-care nucleic-acid-based detection system” — Nate Cira, graduate student, and Stephen Quake, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics.

Predictive tools and diagnostics

  • “Boronic acid-based fluorescent saccharide sensor for early detection of gastrointestinal cancer” — Sanjay Malhotra, PhD, associate professor of radiation oncology and of radiology, and Utkan Demirci, PhD, associate professor of radiology.
  • “Engineering functionalized viruslike particles for circulating tumor cell detection and enumeration” — James Swartz, DSc, professor of engineering, of chemical engineering and of bioengineering, and Donna Peehl, PhD, professor emerita of urology.
  • “Identification of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for RBM20-deficient dilated cardiomyopathy” — Lars Steinmetz, PhD, professor of genetics, and Ronald Davis, PhD, professor of biochemistry and of genetics.
  • “A mobile autism initiative to detect autism spectrum disorder in Bangladeshi children under the age of 4” — Dennis Wall, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics, and Gary Darmstadt, MD professor of pediatrics.
  • “Virtual agent-linked intelligent disease assessment tool engine” — Baldeep Singh, MD, clinical professor of medicine, and Nima Aghaeepour, PhD, postdoctoral scholar.
  • “Gene signature to predict clinical outcome in hepatocellular carcinoma” — Meital Gabay-Ryan, PhD, postdoctoral scholar; Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and of pathology; and Renu Dhanasekaran, MD, instructor of gastroenterology and hepatology.
  • “Applications and validation assessments of consumer mobile and wearable devices and mobile applications for sleep monitoring” — Joseph Cheung, MD, clinical instructor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, professor of sleep medicine; Jamie Zeitzer, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; and Katarzyna Wac, PhD, visiting professor.
  • “VascTrac: A peripheral artery disease remote monitoring platform” — Oliver Aalami, MD, clinical associate professor of surgery.         
  • “Monitoring head impact exposure and predicting neurological deficit using an instrumented mouthguard” — David Camarillo, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering, and Gerald Grant, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery.


  • “Therapeutic target for treating age-related neurodegenerative diseases by blocking leukocyte-endothelial crosstalk through very late antigen-4 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 interactions” — Hanadie Yousef, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, professor of neurology.
  • “Small molecules that restore a global immune response against cancer” — Stephanie Casey, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and of pathology.
  • “Visible light-based surface coupling of growth factors in situ to enhance ocular wound healing” — David Myung, MD, resident.           
  • “Targeting lipogenesis as a novel treatment for kidney cancer” — Arvin Gouw, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and of pathology.
  • “Development of small molecule activators of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency for the treatment of hemolytic crisis and its sequalae” — Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD, professor of chemical and systems biology.         
  • “Valine metabolism as a potential therapeutic target in leukemia” — Adam Wilkinson, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, and Hiromitsu Nakauchi, MD, PhD, professor of genetics.
  • “Hypocretin receptor 2 small molecule agonists regulate ventricular function” — Marco Perez, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and Euan Ashley, MRCP, DPhil, associate professor of medicine, genetics and of biomedical data science.
  • “Repurposing drugs for use against Entamoeba and other enteric protozoa” — Susmitha Suresh, PhD, postdoctoral scholar; Gretchen Ehrenkaufer, PhD, research associate; and Upinder Singh, MD, associate professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology.

Spectrum pilot grants are administered by the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences (population health, learning health care innovation and community engagement); the Byers Center for Biodesign (medical technologies); the Stanford Predictives and Diagnostics Accelerator (predictive tools and diagnostics); and SPARK (therapeutics). Primary funding comes from Spectrum’s $45.3 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (grant UL1TR001085) 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.

2023 ISSUE 1

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