The I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award Winners
The I.M. Rosenzweig Junior Investigator Award was established to encourage researchers to maintain and enhance their interest in PF research during the early stages of their academic career.
Haitao (Mark) Ji
University of Utah
Proposal Title: "Design and Synthesis of Selective Beta-catenin/T-Cell Factor Inhibitors for the Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"
This proposal is funded by InterMune, Inc.
Dr. Haitao (Mark) Ji is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Assistant Professor in the Center for Cell and Genome Science, University of Utah.
A native of China, Mark received his PhD and BS degrees at the Second Military Medical University of China. After completing his military service, Mark served as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University. As a postdoctoral fellow under Professor Richard Silverman, he proposed a new concept, minimal pharmacophoric element, and developed a new method for fragment-based inhibitor design, called fragment hopping. By using this new strategy Dr. Ji discovered the most potent and dual selective nNOS inhibitor reported to date.
Dr. Ji’s independent research interests are largely dedicated to the structure-based design and synthesis of small molecules to modulate cellular signalling pathways that are critical in pulmonary fibrogenesis. In the process of designing and synthesizing new small-molecule inhibitors, he also aims to develop novel and widely applicable techniques for future drug discovery. Accordingly, research in his group utilizes multidisciplinary approaches including synthetic organic chemistry, computer modeling, molecular and cell biology.
Dr. Ji has published 68 research papers, five review papers and three book chapters. Mark is married to Grace Zhang. They have one son, Nate.
University of Colorado, Denver
Proposal Title: "Therapeutic Targeting of PTPN-13 in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis"Dr. Keith is an Instructor in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver. Her clinical interests include fibrotic and collagen vascular associated lung diseases. She conducts her research under the mentorship of David W. H. Riches, PhD, at National Jewish Health in the area of rheumatoid arthritis associated interstitial lung disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
More recently, she has begun to focus on the development of targeted small molecules to inhibit the interactions of protein tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor type 13 and Fas as candidate therapeutic agents in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Keith enjoys spending time with her family in the Rocky Mountains.
The Albert Rose Established Investigator Award Winners
Created to allow established investigators to explore novel, innovative areas of research, the Albert Rose Established Investigator Award provides critical support to the development of new projects, and enables the investigator to pursue additional funding through the National Institutes of Health or other agencies. Two $50,000 grants are awarded per annual cycle, disbursed over a two-year period.
James S Hagood
University of California, San Diego
Proposal Title: "Extracellular Vesicles Alter Cell Phenotype in Pulmonary Fibrosis"Dr. James Hagood is a pediatric pulmonologist and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine at the University of California San Diego and the Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. Dr. Hagood’s lab has studied pulmonary fibrosis for nearly twenty years with a focus on mechanisms by which fibroblasts, the cells responsible for the formation of scar tissue, become abnormally activated. His lab has showed that Thy-1, a natural fibrosis suppressor gene, gets silenced in fibrotic fibroblasts. Dr. Hagood’s lab was the first to describe epigenetic alterations (acquired changes that can be inherited but don’t alter DNA sequences) in pulmonary fibrosis. More recently, the lab has begun to focus on new targeted treatments for pulmonary fibrosis and to explore the role of microvesicles (tiny particles that can transfer information between cells) in fibrosis. In his clinical work, Dr. Hagood’s main focus is on diffuse and interstitial lung diseases in children, which are much rarer than those in adults, but may hold biological clues for understanding more common forms of pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Hagood enjoys food, culture, and, of course, the beach with his family in San Diego.
Proposal Title: "Analysis of Novel Functions of Human Telomerase RNA in IPF"Dr. Rosen has been on the faculty of the Stanford University School of Medicine since 1993. He is presently an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Rosen’s laboratory research focuses on translational studies in pulmonary fibrosis; specifically, his laboratory studies mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis, and then applies the application of these discoveries to the development of novel treatments for fibrotic lung disease. Recent work in his laboratory has revealed novel functions of telomerase in pulmonary fibrosis and additional studies are focused on the genetics of pulmonary fibrosis. He has published broadly, he is active in clinical trials in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and works with biotechnology companies in the development of novel anti-fibrotic therapeutics. Dr. Rosen is the Clinical Director of the Stanford Interstitial Lung Disease Program at the Center for Advanced Lung Disease. Dr. Rosen’s active clinical and research program in interstitial lung disease gives him insight into how to apply basic research discoveries to help patients with advanced lung disease.