Research Highlights

November 2015

Seed Funding Research Program Grant Awards

We congratulate the two investigators who received awards this round.

The eleventh round of Duncan Family Institute Seed Funding Research Program awards have been completed. These awards will provide funding up to $50,000 per year for two years for a total of $100,000 to support research in the broad topic of cancer prevention and risk assessment in order to allow faculty to obtain preliminary data to improve competitiveness of cancer prevention and risk assessment research grant proposals submitted to external agencies.

Jeffrey Engelmann, Ph.D.
Increasing Working Memory Capacity in Smokers: A Preliminary fMRI Study

 

Qiang Shen, M.D., Ph.D.
Targeting Glucose Metabolism for Breast Cancer Prevention

 

Increasing Working Memory Capacity in Smokers: A Preliminary fMRI Study

Working memory refers to a brain process that enables us to simultaneously manipulate multiple pieces of information and control our behavior. Previous research has shown that poor working memory is associated with relapse in smokers who are trying to quit. In this study, we will test whether two weeks of in-home, computerized cognitive training is capable of improving working memory capacity in smokers. If we find that cognitive training improves working memory capacity, we will conduct future studies in which we will assess the efficacy of cognitive training as an adjunct to standard smoking-cessation interventions. In the long run, it may be possible to improve smoking-cessation rates through the use of easily-administered, cost-effective cognitive training.

Targeting Glucose Metabolism for Breast Cancer Prevention

Currently available drugs for breast cancer prevention can only prevent a portion of ER-positive breast cancer. Effective preventive therapies are therefore urgently needed for the unpreventable/resistant ER-positive and all ER-negative breast cancers. In this regard, we have developed a new class of anti-cancer agents including HJC0152 that target and reprogram glucose metabolism and energy production. HJC0152 has demonstrated significant effects on reducing ER-negative breast cancer development in animal models by inhibiting pre-cancerous changes, making it a promising chemoprevention drug candidate for future breast cancer prevention.