The UIC Department of Pharmacology and Regenerative Medicine in the College of Medicine first awarded a Program Project Grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health in March 2000.
Since then, the department has continuously hosted two Program Project Grants. These ongoing multi-investigator projects totaling over $22,000,000 are centered on “Macrophage Plasticity in Inflammatory Lung Injury” (Program Director Asrar B. Malik) and “The Lung Endothelium as an Instructive Niche for the innate immune system during vascular injury” (program director Dolly Mehta). These current P01s, along with additional long-term funding from the NIH, DOD, and NSF, contribute to the department’s status as one of UIC’s best-funded departments and pharmacology departments in the world. national scale.
The P01 fellowships are unique, as they “support large, long-term, multidisciplinary research programs involving groups of researchers working on research projects that contribute to the overall objectives of the programme”. These grants have stimulated numerous research collaborations both within the department and the university as a whole, as well as with other institutions, leading to transformative research projects and contributions.
In addition, seven R01 and R33 multi-PIs have recently been funded, indicating the intense level of collaborations within the Ministry. An overview of these projects includes “Programming of PMN host defense function during transendothelial migration”, “Optogenetic control of tumor initiation and tumor progression in vivo” and “Mechanisms and treatment of induced lung endothelial injury by SARS-CoV-2”. In addition, several major research programs have recently been awarded to researchers in the department (including the DOD Technology Award and the NSF Career Awards).
These Program Project Grants have contributed to and are in fact key drivers of the Department’s rich collaborative environment. Under Malik’s leadership as department head, the department is home to a highly interactive and intellectually robust group of researchers.
This framework has been critical to the success of new junior faculty members; four new faculty members recently received independent R01 or R33 grants from the NIH, demonstrating their strengths and the demanding nature of the intellectually rigorous environment. These researchers include Sandra Pinho (“Mechanisms of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation”), Kiwook Kim (“Role of Membrane-Associated Macrophages in Health and Inflammation”), Dr. Soroush Tahmasebi (“Translational Regulation of Resident Macrophages of tissues by GCN2“) and Gary Mo (“Pyroptosis is a trial by fire program”).
The department is also the beneficiary of a major training program supported by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This NIH-sponsored institutional training program, now in its 29th year, grew out of our commitment to provide comprehensive training for the next generation of creative and deserving pulmonary researchers at the undergraduate and postdoctoral levels. The training program emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of cutting-edge research in an environment that fosters independent and creative thinking. The main objective of the program has been to train future research leaders. The success of interns, both in receiving independent funding and in career development, reflects the success of the department’s collaborative training mechanisms.