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Scleroderma Foundation awards six research grants for 2011

The Scleroderma Foundation's Peer Review Committee has awarded research grants to six investigators for 2011.


DANVERS, MASS. (Feb. 8, 2011) – Twenty-seven grant applications were received and reviewed by the committee, and this year, six worthy researchers – five established and one new – will have their projects funded.

The award winners are:

  • Galina Bogatkevich, M.D., Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina. “Role of IQ Motif Containing GTPase Activating Protein 1 in Scleroderma Interstitial Lung Disease.”
  • Monique Hinchcliff, M.D., Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Measuring Gene Expression in the Skin: Novel Biomarkers for Scleroderma.”
  • Alisa Koch, M.D., University of Michigan. “Aberrant Angiogenesis in Systemic Sclerosis.”
  • Maria Trojanowska, Ph.D., Boston University School of Medicine. “The Role of ER Stress in SSc-PAH.”
  • Shu Wu, M.D., University of Miami. “Mechanisms of CTGF-Induced Lung Fibrosis.”
  • Xiaodong Zhou, M.D., University of Texas-Houston. “Studies of iPS and iPS Derived Cells in Scleroderma.”

“The Research Grant Program is vital to help forward research on scleroderma,” said Carol Feghali-Bostwick, Ph.D., researcher and Vice Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and head of the research committee. “We also hope that the program helps motivate new researchers to become interested in investigating scleroderma.”

The two highest scoring research proposals received the Foundation’s Marta Marx and Mark Flapan awards. The Marta Marx Fund Eradication of Scleroderma Award went to Dr. Wu from the University of Miami. The award is funded by bequests from Marta Marx, who had scleroderma, and her brother Rudolph Juhl. The Mark Flapan Award was awarded to Dr. Koch from the University of Michigan. It is named in honor of the late psychologist and scleroderma patient.

The Walter A. Coyle Memorial Research Grant Award, which is made possible through the generosity of the New England Chapter, was presented to Dr. Trojanowska of Boston University School of Medicine. This is the third research grant that the New England Chapter has sponsored since the debut of the Chapter Grant Funding program in 2009.

The Research Grant Funding Program was established in 1989. Since then, the Scleroderma Foundation has awarded funding to 199 proposals. Applications are judged by a group of their peers, guided by National Institutes of Health (NIH) protocol and criteria, to ensure that the strongest research proposals receive funding.

“Research-related initiatives are the Foundation’s largest expense each year,” said Tracey O. Sperry, director of Development and Research at the Scleroderma Foundation’s National Office. “It is our hope that with each proposal funded, the world is a step closer to finding a cure.”


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