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Seven recipients of the 2014 Butcher Seed Grant Awards were recently notified of their winning proposals in interdisciplinary bioscience. These grants bring critical funding to many of Colorado’s top academic researchers wanting to expand their scientific discoveries and build new collaborations that span disciplines and academic institutions. This year’s winning proposals are collaborative efforts between researchers across the University of Colorado system and National Jewish Health. Winners will receive between $70,000 and $75,000 to further their research projects.
2014 Butcher Seed Grant Winners Announced

Seed grant applicants presented posters at the 2013 Butcher Symposium in November.

2014 Butcher Seed Grant Winners Announced

Seven recipients of the 2014 Butcher Seed Grant Awards were recently notified of their winning proposals in interdisciplinary bioscience. These grants bring critical funding to many of Colorado’s top academic researchers wanting to expand their scientific discoveries and build new collaborations that span disciplines and academic institutions. This year’s winning proposals are collaborative efforts between researchers across the University of Colorado system and National Jewish Health. Winners will receive between $70,000 and $75,000 to further their research projects.

The Butcher Symposium began in 2002 as a grassroots effort to bring together scientists from across the CU system to create collaborations and share data. Butcher Seed Grants were awarded in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012 to fund potentially transformative new scientific pilot projects that required researchers with different expertise to work together to address critical challenges in the biosciences.

The Butcher Program was founded through the generosity of long-time CU supporters Charlie and Jane Butcher, who saw the potential for “big picture” scientific thinking and creative cross-discipline research to transform lives. The seed grants were awarded this year thanks to continued support from the Butcher family, and CU-Boulder and Anschutz Medical Center leaders.

Butcher Poster SessionIn addition to supporting the symposium and the seed grants, the support from the Butchers also established the Charlie Butcher Award in Biotechnology to recognize scientists from around the world who are using interdisciplinary science to make a significant impact on human welfare and health. The 2013 award went to biologist Jack Szostak of Harvard University whose discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres won him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. For additional information on the Butcher Program and on Charlie and Jane Butcher, please visit: http://biofrontiers.colorado.edu/butcher.

This year’s winning proposals offer an exciting look into the biomedical research going on in Colorado, covering everything from studying seizures in the brain using small fiber optical devices, to finding ways of using the vast collection of microbiome data for diagnosing disease. The awardees are:

“Optimized deep-brain imaging of activity in over a hundred neurons for imaging seizures”

  • Emily Gibson (PI) - Department of Bioengineering, University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Juliet Gopinath (Co-PI) - Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Victor Bright (Co-PI) - Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

“Developing a Platform for in vivo Imaging of Chronic Bacterial Infection”

  • Corrella Detweiler (PI) - Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Amy Palmer (Co-PI) - BioFrontiers Institute and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

“Single-molecule physical probing of glycan recognition by viral capsid proteins”

  • Robert L. Garcea (PI) - BioFrontiers Institute and Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Thomas Perkins (Co-PI) - JILA, NIST, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

“Conformational dynamics of dystrophin probed using single-molecule FRET”

  • Krishna Mallela (PI) - Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus
  • David Nesbitt (Co-PI) - JILA, NIST Quantum Physics Division, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

“Extracting diagnostic signals from human microbiome data”

  • Aaron Clauset (PI) - BioFrontiers Institute and Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Ken Krauter (Co-PI) - Institute for Behavioral Genetics and Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Matt McQueen (Co-PI) - Institute for Behavioral Genetics and Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

“The Nano Rainbow: Multicolor Biolabels for Simultaneous Molecular Scale Tracking and Tailored Assays of Biological Agents”

  • Kevin Tvrdy (PI) - Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • Anatoliy Pinchuk (Co-PI) - BioFrontiers Center and Department of Physics and Energy Science, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

 

“Targeted Delivery of Antioxidant Peptides to the Pulmonary Arteries for the Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension”

  • Leah R. Villegas (PI) - Department of Pediatrics/Cardiovascular Pulmonary Research, University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus
  • MyPhuong T. Le (Co-PI) - Department of Renal Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus

 

As a new extension of the Butcher seed grant program, grants for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were sponsored by the student-led BioFrontiers Science Alliance. These monetary awards were made possible through generous donations from Roy Parker, Leslie Leinwand and Mike Yarus, and the BioFrontiers Institute. To be eligible, these research projects needed to be led by a CU-Boulder graduate student or postdoctoral fellow with a collaborator from a different department. These researchers were also required to present a poster about their work at the 2013 Butcher Symposium. A total of seven applications for the grants were submitted.

Two seed grants were funded at $2,000 and a third was funded at $1,500. The awardees are:

“Analyzing polyomavirus factories with double-helix super resolution microscopy”

  • Katie Heiser (Lead) - Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Anthony Barsic (Collaborator) - Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Kevin Dean (Collaborator) - BioFrontiers Advanced Imaging Resource, University of Colorado, Boulder

“Characterizing structural variants in a mouse model of alcohol dependence”

  • Eitan Halper-Stromberg (Lead) - Department of Computational Biosciences, University of Colorado, Denver
  • Aaron Odell (Collaborator) - Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder

 

“Non-invasive monitoring of MMP activity of cardiac fibroblasts cultured under diseased and fibrotic microenvironment”

  • Jennifer Leight (Lead) - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • William Wan (Collaborator) - Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder