New $3M NIH Grant Targets Respiratory Infection with Math. Modeling

No one is ever pleasantly surprised to find mold growing on food that has been left in the fridge too long. But everyday there is plenty of mold around us that we don’t see, including hundreds of spores of some types of invisible mold that we unknowingly inhale.

While this probably sounds pretty alarming and disgusting, Aspergillus fumigatus is not harmful to most people. However, for someone with a weakened immune system, this fungus poses serious health dangers.

Reinhard Laubenbacher, joint faculty member at UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, has received more than $3 million from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to use mathematical and computational tools to explore new potential therapeutic targets to treat those affected by invasive aspergillosis.  Read more.

Ovarian Cancer Cells Hoard Iron to Fuel Growth

Cancer cells tend to hoard iron, and ovarian cancer cells in particular. They take in more iron than normal cells, and they release less of it. UConn Health postdoctoral fellow in computational biology Anna Konstorum, director of the Center for Quantitative Medicine Reinhard Laubenbacher, and their colleagues wondered why. Perhaps cancer cells’ iron habit was a weakness doctors could use against the disease. Read more.

Statewide Pain Consortium with JAX

At a time when the danger of opioids is clear, UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) are collaborating to form the Connecticut Pain Consortium.

Professor Reinhard Laubenbacher, who will lead the consortium and is a joint faculty member at UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory, said the consortium will focus on researching the causes of pain, as well as pain management and how to translate that research into new therapies. Read more.

UConn Health Researchers Awarded More than $2.2m from NIH Grant

Professor Reinhard Laubenbacher from the UConn School of Medicine Department of Cell Biology, Director of the Center for Quantitative Medicine and Professor at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Dr. Pedro Mendes also in the Department of Cell Biology and the Center for Quantitative Medicine, and Dr. Anna Dongari-Bagtzoglou, chair of the Division of Periodontology UConn School of Dental Medicine, have been awarded more than $2.2 million from the National Institutes of Health, to study ways by which we may be able to control biofilms formed by a fungus that is an important cause of topical and systemic infections. Read more.

First of Its Kind Pain Consortium

UConn Health, UConn Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and The Jackson Laboratory have announced the creation of the Connecticut Pain Consortium, a translational pain research and education collaboration which is the first of its kind in the Connecticut medical community. The consortium will be led by Professor Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher, a joint faculty member at UConn Health and JAX. “There is a clear need for more basic and translational research on human pain and pain management,” said Dr. Laubenbacher. “And, there is a critical unmet need for education and training of providers and patients. This is a great opportunity to deploy our capabilities in addiction and pain research together with our Connecticut partners in an exciting and much needed state-wide initiative.” Read more

UConn Health Researchers Awarded Grant from NIH Grant

Drs. Reinhard Laubenbacher and Pedro Mendes of the Center for Quantitative Medicine, and Dr. Anna Dongari-Bagtzoglou of The Division of Periodontology UConn School of Dental Medicine, have been awarded over $2.20 million over the next four years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “Control of heterogeneous microbial communities using model-based multi-objective optimization” (1R01GM127909-01).  A novel mathematical approach to an important use of Agent-based models (ABMs) as a means to model-based control biological system. Rather than viewing the ABM as a model, it is to be viewed as a surrogate for the actual system.

ggalluvial v0.5.0: A ggplot2 Extension for Alluvial Diagrams, an R package by Cory Brunson, is now available on CRAN

ggplot2 is a very popular R package for data visualization. When Dr. Jason (Cory) Brunson, a postdoctoral fellow, engaged in a data analysis project with the State Comptroller’s office, he began developing an extension to ggplot2 to create so-called alluvial diagrams, like the one used by Bergstrom and Rosvall in their PLOS One paper.[1] Dr. Brunson kept working on it intermittently, and a couple of months ago he submitted it to CRAN, which is the primary repository for stable R packages.[2].

Alluvial diagrams can be used to represent repeated categorical measures, classifications that evolve over time, and multi-dimensional categorical data. ggalluvial produces alluvial diagrams using the principles and syntax of the tidyverse packages, including ggplot2 and tidyr.

Please click on the link to an introduction/tutorial that he wrote.[3]

[1]: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0008694

[2]: https://cran.r-project.org/package=ggalluvial

[3]: https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/ggalluvial/vignettes/ggalluvial.html

UConn Health/JAX faculty member, Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher, wins $2.7M grant to develop better tools for biomedical modeling

UConn Health/JAX faculty member, Dr. Reinhard Laubenbacher, has been awarded over $2.7 million over the next four years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “Modular design of multiscale models, with an application to the innate immune response to fungal respiratory pathogens” (1U01EB024501-01). The project aims to develop a novel modular approach to model architecture to improve the usability of multiscale mathematical models. Such tools have emerged as essential tools in the life sciences, especially biomedicine.

Read more.