The Wisconsin Partnership Program’s Partnership Education and Research Committee awarded the following New Investigator Program grants in 2006:

Determinants of Antibiotic Resistance in Nursing Homes

Christopher Crnich, MD, MS, Medicine
Award: $100,000 over 18 months

Infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria are an increasing cause of illness and death among residents of nursing homes. This community-based longitudinal study of residents in 12 facilities will help establish the extent of antibiotic resistance in Wisconsin nursing homes.

The information gained from this study will help in the design of future studies that will examine the impact that environment and systems of care have on the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in nursing homes. Ultimately, this information will be used to develop and test systems-based interventions to reduce the illness and death associated with these types of infections.

Treatment of Vitamin D Insufficiency

Karen Hansen, MD, Medicine
Award: $100,000 over two years

Human skin makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Because of little sun exposure, many people living in Wisconsin have low vitamin D levels, which can contribute to weak bones. This study will assess whether vitamin D tablets can increase calcium absorption in older women, thereby leading to stronger bones.

Partnering with Quit lines to Promote Youth Smoking Cessation in Wisconsin

Tammy Harris Sims, MD, MS, Pediatrics
Award: $100,000 over two years

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of illness and death in the United States, and about 80 percent of smokers become daily smokers before age 20. Although the origins and motivations for tobacco use are found in youth, assessments and interventions are largely developed for adults. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of an age-appropriate telephone counseling intervention in helping adolescent and young adult smokers quit.

Creation of a Bovine Cryptosporidium Vaccine to Reduce Outbreaks in Human Populations

Laura Knoll, PhD, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Award: $100,000 over one year

Cryptosporidium is well-known for causing water-borne outbreaks of diarrhea, as in the spring 1993 contamination of the Milwaukee city water supply that caused illness in more than 400,000 people. Similarly, cryptosporidium is a frequent and serious pathogen of young calves, decreasing their growth rate and increasing the costs to dairy farms. The goal of this project is to develop a cryptosporidium vaccine for cattle both to protect dairy farms and to eliminate cow to human transmission of cryptosporidium.

Integrating Variation at Single Nucleotides and Short Tandem Repeats to Identify Genetic Associations with Complex Diseases

Bret Payseur, PhD, Genetics
Award: $100,000 over two years

A powerful approach to identifying the genes that cause human disease is to associate disease with DNA markers in large populations. This project will compare two different types of DNA markers commonly used by researchers, which will help clinical scientists decide which type of marker is best for their particular study. Additionally, this project will develop new methods for associating markers with disease.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in a Study of Prolotherapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

David Rabago, MD, Family Medicine
Award: $99,971 over two years

Knee osteoarthritis is a common, painful, debilitating, age-related condition. MRI is recognized as the best way to view the knee; however, the MRI assessment of the entire knee can take up to one hour. This study will compare the standard MRI technique to a new, five-minute, less expensive MRI technique to determine if both methods can provide similar assessment of the knee.

Surface-Rendered 3D MRI Overlaid Into Live X-Ray Fluoroscopy to Guide Endomyocardial Progenitor Cell Therapy for Recent Myocardial Infarction: Technical Development and Validation Toward Clinical Translation

Amish Raval, MD, Medicine
Award: $100,000 over two years

Patients who suffer heart attack often develop heart enlargement, congestion and heart failure. Injection of adult stem cells into damaged heart muscle may prevent complications of a heart attack; however, catheter techniques are limited by poor imaging technology. This project will develop a novel image guidance system using computer hardware and software components to combine MRI and X-Ray images to allow researchers to more clearly visualize heart attack sites during stem cell injection.