New research collaborations awarded funding by Wisconsin Partnership Program

November 3, 2023

The Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP) at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health has announced awards to four interdisciplinary research teams through its Collaborative Health Sciences Program.

The new collaborations cover a range of academic disciplines and health issues including reducing diabetes and obesity, understanding the impacts of puberty blockers, preventing opioid misuse and improving health care access.

Through this grant program, the Wisconsin Partnership Program supports novel ideas and new approaches to interdisciplinary research or education advancing health, health care and health equity in Wisconsin and beyond. Each award provides up to $600,000 over three years. Leveraging a rigorous multi-stage process, the following projects were selected by WPP’s Partnership Education and Research committee for funding:

Screening in Trauma for Opioid Misuse Prevention: Adaptive Intervention (STOMP-AI) Study

This project will address Wisconsin’s opioid crisis through research on the effectiveness of more personalized prevention methods for opioid misuse among patients receiving treatment for traumatic injury. Opioid misuse, which is associated with illicit opioid use and overdose, is common and is of particular concern for individuals prescribed opioids after a traumatic injury. The results of this study will be used to improve identification of opioid misuse risk and help prevent the development of opioid use disorder in patients recovering from traumatic injury.

Principal Investigator: Randall Brown, MD, PhD, FASAM, professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, director of the UW Center for Addictive Disorders

Co-principal Investigator: Ben Zarzaur, MD, MPH, FACS, professor, Department of Surgery

Collaborators: Andrew Quanbeck, PhD, associate professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Shinye Kim, PhD, M Ed, assistant professor, Department of Counseling Psychology, UW–Madison School of Education; Colleen Trevino, RN, NP, PhD, associate professor, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin; Danny Almirall, PhD, research associate professor, Institute for Social Research, Department of Statistics, University of Michigan; Tamara Somers, PhD, associate professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University

Engineering a Healthier Calorie: A Cross-disciplinary Collaboration

More than 475,000 Wisconsin residents have diabetes, mostly type 2. This type of diabetes is associated with diet and obesity and is helped through healthy dietary intake. Yet, more innovations in dietary interventions are needed. By leveraging expertise in metabolism and plant genetics, this novel project proposes to develop a source of plant-based foods that will reduce dietary intake of certain nutrients associated with obesity. The findings will inform future studies with the ultimate goal of improved treatment of diabetes and obesity.

Principal Investigator: Dudley Lamming, PhD, associate professor, Department of Medicine

Co-principal Investigator: Jacob Brunkard, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Genetics, UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Collaborators: Dawn Davis, MD, PhD, professor, Department of Medicine; Daniela Drummond-Barbosa, PhD, professor, Department of Genetics, UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Shawn Kaeppler, PhD, professor, Department of Agronomy, UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Hiroshi Maeda, PhD, professor, Department of Botany, UW–Madison College of Letters and Sciences; Judith Simcox, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biochemistry, UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Gregory Barrett-Wilt, PhD, Director of Mass Spectrometry, UW–Madison Biotechnology Center

Effects of Puberty Blockade on Behavior, Brain and Reproductive Physiology in an Animal Model

The project will use an animal model to analyze reproductive physiology, brain development and behavior upon exposure to drugs that halt puberty or to reproductive hormones that differ in amount and type from hormones present during animal adolescent development.

Led by experts in endocrinology, psychology, and the molecular biology of sexual development in animal systems, this project aims to understand the biological mechanisms of adolescent anxiety and depression during puberty and physiological, developmental and behavioral impacts of hormone treatment.

Principal Investigator: Walid Farhat, MD, FRCSC, FACS, professor (CHS), Chief of the Division of Pediatric Urology, Department of Urology

Co-principal Investigators: Anthony Auger, PhD, professor, Department of Psychology, UW–Madison College of Letters & Science; Joan Jorgensen, DVM, PhD, professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences, UW School of Veterinary Medicine

Non-Invasive Ultrasound Urodynamics to Improve Medical Care for Men with Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Rural Areas

This project aims to address disparities in access to diagnostic testing for men in Wisconsin with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), through the development of a new, non-invasive diagnostic procedure. Urination problems affect 70 percent of men over the age of sixty and can cause serious health issues if left untreated. This novel procedure will combine advances in computational flow dynamics with two diagnostic tests routinely performed by urologists to improve accessibility to state-of-the-art care in smaller medical centers as well as rural regions of the state.

Principal Investigator: Alejandro Roldán-Alzate, PhD, associate professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UW–Madison College of Engineering, Department of Radiology

Co-principal Investigators: Jennifer Franck, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UW–Madison College of Engineering; Wade Bushman, MD, PhD, professor emeritus, Department of Urology

Collaborators: Matthew Grimes, MD, assistant professor (CHS), Department of Urology; Giuseppe Toia, MD, MS, assistant professor (CHS), Department of Radiology; Ivan Rosado-Mendez, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Medical Physics

“These newly funded projects are led by strong interdisciplinary teams with diverse and complementary expertise to address important health issues facing Wisconsin,” said Amy Kind, MD, PhD, associate dean for social health sciences and programs and executive director of the Wisconsin Partnership Program. “This work has the potential to achieve significant scientific advances and to leverage future extramural funding, ultimately benefiting patients across our state.”

The Wisconsin Partnership Program is a grantmaking program within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health committed to improving health and advancing health equity through investments community partnerships and education and research initiatives.