Success Stories in Systems Biology and Biomedical Data Sciences

There is no shortage of success stories from our systems biology labs! Here are a few example from Academic Year 2021-2022.

New Grants

Dr. Dolatshahi received the Jeffress Trust Award to uncover key maternal and placental immune regulatory mechanisms differentially affecting antibody transfer during pregnancy across racial groups. Their investigation will provide novel overall and race-specific insights, highlighting novel immune axes that may be manipulated to enhance neonatal immunity through the design of effective maternal vaccines, adjuvants and administration schedules. The Dolatshahi lab also received a collaborative seed grant from UVA’s Carter Immunology Center to develop systems biology approaches to understand and harness spatial immune interactions in the tumor microenvironment of lung cancer, together with Drs. Mike Brown and Timothy Bullock.

Dr. Naegle was awarded a collaborative award with investigators from across the US and the world to understand the basic signaling of how cancer cells evade the immune system to help build better immunotherapies. Naegle lab’s latest pre-print on an algorithm to predict patient-specific kinase activities can be found here

Dr. Eli Zunder's research group has developed a neural mass cytometry platform to monitor the changes in protein expression and signaling pathway activation that occur during nervous system development.  In 2020, he was awarded a NIH R01 grant from NINDS (NS111220) to study the trophic signaling programs that control development of the peripheral sensory nervous system.

Fallahi-Sichani Lab received a new R01 award from the NCI, which will allow them to work toward the understanding of the interplay between genetic, epigenetic and signaling mechanisms that determine the state of MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway dependency in tumor cells. Read more here.

Dr. Peirce-Cottler has a new NIH R01 grant from the NHLBI entitled: “Modeling to Design Treatments for Idiopathic Lung Fibrosis” and the Barker Lab is collaborating on this.


New Publications

  • Last month, Dr. Papin’s lab published a paper where they used metabolic network models to identify a mechanism that causes increased virulence in the pathogen Clostridioides difficile.
  • A collaborative work by the Papin lab together with Dr. Sean Moore in pediatrics with leadership from collaborators in Brazil used biomedical data sciences to argue for an earlier timing of vaccination campaigns with potential to improve birth outcomes of a large fraction of the country.
  • Kasson lab members used modeling to explain how influenza virus manipulates membranes to infect cellsAnother study from the Kasson lab by BME graduate student Jennifer Hays and BME undergraduate student Emily Boland showed how to combine data acquired in separate experiments and recover the correlation between such measurements for protein structure.  This work also recently earned a major NIH grant for the Kasson lab.


Awards and Accolades

  • Our Dr. Peirce-Cottler and Dr. Papin received endowed chair positions as Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professors.
  • Dr. Shambhavi Singh from the Janes Lab won the Hungerford award in Biomedical Research.
  • BME graduate students Mukti Chowkwale and Bryana Harris from the Saucerman Cardiac Systems Pharmacology Group received the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship and National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, respectively.