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Rep. Zeldin Announces Nearly $3 Million in Grants for Stony Brook University

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) announced Stony Brook University has been awarded five grants through the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health totaling over $2.8 million in funding, including $1,995,417 for cancer research, $402,786 for youth mental health treatment, and $428,729 for allergy, immunology, and transplantation research.

“Researchers at Stony Brook University are on the forefront of cutting-edge research that directly impacts their fellow Long Islanders,” said Congressman Zeldin. “Continuing to drive federal funding back towards their critical efforts and our district will help ensure they can continue their important work and pioneer the future of everything from cancer research to mental health treatment. Congratulations to these bright scientists on their grant awards, and  we all look forward to seeing what they accomplish next.”

Dr. Yusuf Hannun, Director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center, who received $1,299,443 for cancer research, said, “This is a long standing project that builds on cutting edge cancer research by a group of innovative and highly collaborative investigators at Stony Brook University Cancer Center (SBCC). The studies proposed in this program project aim at defining how specific pathways of lipid (fat) metabolism and specific enzymes in these pathways regulate key functions of cancer cells. These include the production of factors that regulate the ability of the tumor cells to migrate and invade; pathways that regulate responses to DNA damage, mechanisms of cancer cell viability and death, pathways of cancer differentiation and senescence. Understanding these novel pathways and mechanisms not only enhances our understanding of cancer behavior, but also promises to lead us to the identification of novel targets for developing new inhibitors of cancer by focusing on specific enzymes.”

Iwao Ojima, Director of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, who received $695,974 for cancer research, said, “Despite advances in anti-androgen and taxane-based therapies, prostate cancer (PC) often becomes castration-resistant, metastatic, and incurable. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop novel interventions to treat metastatic PC. Successful completion of the proposed studies will lead to the development of first-in-class novel anticancer agents for PC chemotherapy.” 

David Rubenstein, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, who received $232,653 for allergy, immunology and transplantation research, said, “Cardiovascular diseases remain as the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for well over 400,000 deaths annually and over $100 billion in annual health care costs. While the progression of cardiovascular diseases has been studied for decades, true preventative therapies and predictive markers for disease initiation/progression are still lacking. It is well-documented, however, that cardiovascular diseases can be characterized by drastic changes to the inflammatory and coagulation systems. The purpose of this grant is to allow us to investigate the interrelationship between inflammatory signals and coagulation signals, with the long-term goal of identifying new key targets for therapeutic intervention strategies and/or new biomarkers for disease initiation/progression. With the success of this work, we have the potential to develop more effective clinically relevant interventions.” 

Pawan Kumar, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, who received $196,076 for allergy, immunology and transplantation research, said, “Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which comprises Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD), is a devastating disease that impacts approximately 3 million people in the US. Cells in the small intestine called Paneth cells generate antimicrobial products and play a critical role in intestinal host defense. The dysregulation of Paneth cells constitutes a pathogenic factor for CD. The host immune signaling molecule Interleukin-22 (IL-22) has great potential for reducing tissue injury and promoting tissue regeneration. However, little is known regarding how IL-22 interacts with Paneth cells. Our study will provide critical new information about the molecular mechanism of IL-22-dependent regulation of Paneth cells and may lead to better treatments for CD and other intestinal disorders.” 

Jessica L. Schleider, Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology, who received $402,786 to study youth mental health treatment, said, “Despite progress in the identification of effective youth mental health interventions, rates of youth psychiatric problems remain stable and high. Low access to treatment exacerbates this problem: In the U.S., up to 80% of youths with mental health needs never access treatment. Our lab’s research aims to address this discrepancy by developing brief, accessible interventions for youth psychopathology, with a focus on depression; identifying mechanisms underlying these interventions’ effects; and testing novel models of dissemination.” 

Founded in the late 1800s, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the federal government responsible for biomedical and public health research, conducting its own research and providing research grants to non-NIH research facilities. Last year, Congressman Zeldin urged Congress to fund NIH at $41.6 billion, a $2.5 billion increase over the previous year.

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