Our faculty are actively involved in collaborative research with the Cancer Center researchers. Some of the ongoing projects include: (i) the role of Epigenetic Expression of IRF8 in Tumor Progression and Metastasis; (ii) the role of IRF8 in spontaneous tumor progression in vivo and examining the role of NF-kB in Fas-mediated apoptosis and tumor suppression; and (iii) clinical evaluation of polarized light-assisted colposcopy.
Our department has a strong ongoing collaborative partnership with the Dental College of Georgia (DCG). For example, investigators in the Biomedical Materials and Devices Research Cluster at the DCG collaborate with our faculty to study how materials and devices simulate physiological environments, improve treatments for disease conditions, and help regenerate normal physiology. This research cluster includes investigations in polarizing light stability, phototherapy, mechanobiology, dentin bonding, and biomineralization, and is partially supported by the National Institute of Craniofacial and Dental Research. Faculty also collaborate on projects related to quality of life of patients who have received dental care using national epidemiological datasets.
Our department provides research support for and actively collaborates with faculty members in the College of Nursing (CON). The main focus of the collaborative efforts of biostatistics faculty is on Community-Based Participatory Research. One such partnership is an NIH-funded study entitled, "Fit Body and Soul: A Church-Based Behavioral Lifestyle Program For Diabetes Prevention In African Americans". Another one is the "Cancer-Community Awareness Access Research and Education initiative", a collaborative project with Cancer Center and funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
The Georgia Prevention Institute (GPI), one of the strongest and highest-funded research entities on campus, has a very strong partnership with our department. Our faculty members serve as co-investigators on several NIH-funded projects at the GPI. It has the longest-active Program Project Grant, focusing on the interaction of environmental stress, sympathetic control, Ang II and inflammation on hypertension with special attention on racial differences. This program project has been funded by NHLBI for over 15 years, and our department leads the biostatistics and data management core of this project. Another project involves examining the role of blood flow and vascular function on exercise capacity in cystic fibrosis. Other collaborations include comparing an aerobic exercise after-school program to a recreational non-exercise after school program; interventions to examine behavioral changes with regard to smoking in children and their parents and grandparents; and, evaluating the effectiveness of a culturally-sensitive, self-tailoring, computer program to improve asthma self-management and smoking reduction/prevention in predominantly African-American high school students living in rural counties of Georgia.
Our faculty members actively collaborate with investigators working on psychiatric and neurological disorders. For example, one such project is an NIH-funded study of comparison of long-acting injectable medications for schizophrenia, using functional data analysis to develop a non-invasive biomarker based on 24-hour rest activity patterns. Another project investigates the pathophysiological mechanisms of schizophrenia susceptibility genes, neuregulin 1 and ErbB4.
The Center for Healthy Aging at Augusta University is the only center of its kind in the Southeast that integrates research and clinical expertise in musculoskeletal, neurological, and orofacial repair to address critical unmet needs in the treatment and management of traumatic injury and degenerative disease. The Center has a large Program Project Grant and many investigator-initiated grants, funded by the NIH. Our faculty members are active collaborators in these projects.
Several faculty in our department actively partner with those Augusta University investigators conducting research on renal disease using the United States Renal Data System (USRDS). We collaborate with faculty, fellows, residents and medical students, as part of the Translational Research Program (TRP) of the Department of Medicine. The USRDS is sponsored by NIDDK, and it consists of 2.5 million patients who have developed end-stage renal disease. Our faculty collaborate on projects on acute kidney injury, cardiorenal syndrome, cardiovascular complications, fractures and infectious diseases, examining the epidemiology of risk factors for and survival probability after developing these diseases, and health conditions in the renal population.
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a common inherited blood disorder afflicting about 25 million people worldwide. Advances in the management of SCD over the past few decades have resulted in increased survival from childhood into adulthood. The Augusta University Sickle Cell Center has a long-standing history of excellence in hemoglobinopathies research, and it has a strong research partnership with our department. One of the current major funded projects is the investigation of the role of endothelin-1 in SCD through a transgenic mouse model. A pilot clinical trial will be initiated to study safety and efficacy of an ETA receptor blockade on inflammation, pain, nociception, and the progression of sickle nephropathy
Several collaborative projects with stroke researchers at Augusta University are done with our faculty. For example, one such project examines minocycline as a method to improve neurologic outcomes, as well as determining whether minocycline reduces MMP-9, serum iron and inflammation (IL-6) in acute ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke patients. Another one examines the angiotensin receptor agonism to promote recovery after stroke in order to obtain preclinical in vivo efficacy data on C21 as a candidate therapeutic in ischemic stroke.