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Foundation Faculty Research Awards (FFRA)

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Internal Funding for Research & Creative Activity

Foundation Faculty Research Awards (FFRA)

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Link to Eligibility and Guidelines Foundation Faculty Research Awards (FFRA)



Role of EphB2 in Microglia Stimulated Glioblastoma Invasion 
Salvatore Coniglio, NJCSTM 

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the deadliest human cancers with a mean survival of 12 months from time of diagnosis. Despite advances in our understanding of the biology of GBM, our current options for treating this disease are severely limited. It has been noted that high grade glioma tumors contain microglia. Microglia are resident brain macrophages which play a role in immunity within the CNS but may also have other functions as well. Our laboratory has previously demonstrated that co-culture with microglia stimulates glioblastoma cell invasion up to 10 fold. Furthermore it was noted in these experiments that extensive cell-cell contact occurs between glioblastoma cells and microglia during invasion. This proposal seeks to further our understanding of how microglia stimulate glioblastoma invasion. Interestingly, microglia are able to promote glioblastoma invasion to a much higher degree when co-cultured with glioblastoma cells as opposed to using microglia conditioned media. This evidence as well as our observation that extensive cell-cell contact occurs during microglia-stimulated glioblastoma invasion suggests juxtacrine signaling plays an important role in this process.

A Machine Learning Approach to Classify and Reconstruct Partial Fingerprinting Images 
Ching-Yu Huang, Computer Science 

Fingerprint analysis is one of the most commonly-used biometrics technologies, primarily used in forensics to identify people. Recognition and classification of complete fingerprints have already been adopted in various disciplines, most commonly in many laptops and mobile devices for authentication. One of the challenging topics in fingerprint research is how to recognize and classify partial fingerprint images. Another difficult extension of this topic is how to reconstruct the partial fingerprints. This research will use machine learning methods to develop innovative algorithms to detect global patterns in fingerprint images and classify the images into subcategories based on the detected patterns. These patterns will be used on various algorithms to recognize and reconstruct the partial images into full images. Two students have been recruited to work on this project. Thousands of de-identified fingerprint images have been downloaded from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). One thousand of the images will be randomly selected as the training set to develop the algorithms and one thousand of the images will be used as the test set to verify and improve the accuracy. The algorithms will benefit forensic identification.

Inventing Reentry Programs in New Jersey: Public, Nonprofit and Social Enterprise Collaboration
Bok Gyo Jeong, Public Administration; Leonard Grayson, Public Administration; Kihwan Kim, Management; Patrick McManimon, Criminal Justice

This project aims to examine the models and practices of a collaborative partnership in local public policy in New Jersey. This study focuses on high re-incarceration problem and challenges to help re-integration of returning citizens (or ex-offenders) to the society by providing essential services such as transitional housing, treatment, access to health care, job training, and other essential needs. New Jersey local governments and their public and private partners came up with a certain model that resolves this imminent public policy challenge in the criminal justice reform. This study analyzes this collaborative model of re-entry program from the transformative governance point of view. The transformation of governance has been contemplated as a way to create an effective leadership that drives inter-organizational collaboration. The main components of transformational governance include reconceptualization of government as leveraging instruments; public sector leaders as boundary spanners; and incorporation of performance management facilitating collaboration. The increased roles of nonprofit organizations and social enterprises can be understood as this transformation of governance to address public policy problems and iron out an innovative solution.


Chemical Synthesis and Biological Analysis of Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of Glioblastoma
James Merritt, NJCSTM

Over the past three years, in collaboration with Dr. Coniglio's group at NJCSTM, we have discovered that the cell receptor CCR1 is involved in the communication and trafficking of cells involved in glioblastoma, brain cancer. Current treatments for glioblastoma involve surgery to remove the tumor and aggressive chemotherapy with low patient survival rates, typically only two years. Students participating in the Medicinal Chemistry Stream Group Scholars Research Program (GSSRP), Research First Initiative (RFI) and Independent Research at NJCSTM will design and prepare novel compounds. Students will learn standard organic chemistry synthetic approaches for compound synthesis, purification and analysis. Each student will prepare at least one novel compound for this research effort. The chemical methods for preparation of these compounds are relatively simple allowing high school and freshmen student participation in an advanced medicinal chemistry research program. Required reagents, chemical and supplies are readily available at NJCSTM or from commercial vendors. Final compounds meeting purity specifications of at least 90% by HPLC and NMR analysis will be shipped for testing of inhibition of CCR1 which will be performed by a commercial vendor that we already use for this analysis. Compounds that meet a potency criteria of at least 50% inhibition at a concentration of 500 nM will be tested in a glioblastoma cell assay at NJCSTM. Structure-Activity analysis will determine design and synthesis of additional compounds to be prepared by subsequent groups of students. FFRA funding supports payment of student stipends for Kean students assisting with the GSSRP, for purchase of specialty chemicals for use in the research, and for testing of compounds by the external vendor.

Identification and Characterization of Natural Plant Molecules Having Antimicrobial Effects
Dil Ramanathan, NJCSTM

Antibiotic resistance (AR) of microorganisms is becoming a serious threat to public health at global levels. We often hear of the issues related to a patient entering into the hospital for cure of one diseases and end up having a more dangerous secondary infection probably from drug resistant bacteria/fungi. In recent years all our important antibiotics have started losing their efficiency. Even health organizations like CDC and WHO have showed alarming concerns against these antibiotic resistant microbes. In our project, we propose to find novel antibiotic compounds from natural plants and analyze their antimicrobial effects. We propose to study three medicinally important plants namely; Moringa Plant, Mochras (Bombax malabarica) and Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) in this project. Specific aims of our research will include: Aim 1.) Preparation of plant extracts, analysis and identification of compounds present in these extracts. GC-MS, HPLC and other chromatographic techniques will be used to achieve this objective. Aim 2.) Antimicrobial testing of plant extracts obtained from aim 1. Bacterial strains of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus will be used for testing antimicrobial effects of these plant extracts.

FFRA Cover Sheet




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