Research Funding

Metabolic Imaging of Disease progression in Skin Cancer by FLIM (N.I.H- INBRE DRPP, P.I. M.G. Nichols,  9/2015 – 8/2018).  The goal of this project is to evaluate metabolic imaging by NADH FLIM to monitor the progression of squamous cell carcinoma in high- and low-HER2 cell lines as well as in the development of SCC in a transgenic mouse model.

Analysis of the capacity of redox metabolism, via C Terminal Binding Protein, to regulate cell fate in regenerative and non-regenerative sensory epithelia (N.I.H. COBRE Phase III, 12/1/2014 – 11/30/2015, P.I. H. Jensen-Smith, Role: Co-I). This project will determine if NADH metabolism is fundamentally different in sensory and supporting cells contained within regenerative and non-regenerative sensory epithelia. 

Construction of Superresolution Microscope to Enhance Research at the Integrated Biomedical Imaging Center (N.I.H. COBRE,  7/2014 – 6/2015, P.I.s R. Hallworth and M. G. Nichols). This project is to build an (FPALM/STORM) microscope for the Integrated Biomedical Imaging Center at Creighton University (CU-IBIF).

 NADH Fluorescence Lifetime-Based Analysis of Mitochondrial Dysfunction during Ototoxic Antibiotic Exposure (N.I.H. COBRE Pilot Grant,  09/01/12 – 06/31/14, P.I. H. Jensen-Smith, Role: Co-I). This project tests the validity of a novel theory of the mechanism(s) mediating aminoglycoside ototoxicity by determining if rapid and direct alterations in mitochondrial function occur.

Comparison of NADH FLIM and Intensity Imaging to Assess Cellular Energetics (N.I.H R15-GM085776, 09/01/08 – 08/31/11, P.I. M.G. Nichols) The health and normal functioning of living cells and tissues requires that energy output be closely regulated to energy demand. Minimally invasive imaging techniques that monitor cellular energetics can help to explain, diagnose, and develop treatments for disease. This project will determine whether a novel fluorescence lifetime-based imaging strategy can provide a more accurate profile of cellular metabolism than traditional techniques that rely on fluorescence intensity alone.

Determination of Redox State in Hair Cell Mitochondria by FLIM (NIH R21 DC008995, 04/01/08 – 03/31/10, P.I. R. Hallworth, Role: Co-I) Deafness is a major cause of disability in the population and is likely to increase in significance as the population ages. The major form of deafness, called sensorineural, involves the loss of irreplaceable hair cells, which may be due to an inability to cope with metabolic challenges. Our project is to evaluate a new method of quantifying the metabolic state of living hair cells.

Optimizing tracers for multicolor neuronal profiling. (N.I.H R44 MH079805-04), SBIR phase II, 07/01/06 – 06/30/09). This work will provide novel tools for the study of developed and developing neuronal connections by creating a new advanced set of neuronal tracer dyes and extending the usefulness of existing dye sets for use with the latest laser scanning microscopy technology.

Response of Osteogenic Cells to Optical Stretching (N.I.H - INBRE P20 RR016469). The goal of this project is to measure the mechanical stiffness of individual osteogenic cells and determine whether this biomechanical property correlates with the expression of key genes associated with bone remodeling in response to small mechanical loads.

 Nebraska Center for Cell Biology (National Science Foundation Nebraska - E.P.S.Co.R., Leader: R. Hallworth, Ph.D. Role: Co-Leader.)  This award created the Nebraska Center for Cell Biology, which will act as a center for expertise in biophysics and optical imaging for the state. The purpose is to develop instrumentation and expertise to further cell biology research in Nebraska, with particular emphasis on developing novel imaging methodology.

 Development of an Optical Stretcher Facility (State of Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Funds (LB692), P.I.: R. Hallworth, $212,831, 9/2001 to 8/2004. Role: Co-PI). This award has allowed us to design and construct two optical stretchers at Creighton University, one in the Physics Department and the other in Biomedical Sciences, to pursue a variety of collaborative research projects that require an accurate assessment of the biomechanical properties of living cells.

 Development of a kinetic model of the two-photon excitation of non-ideal biologal fluorophores. (Creighton University, Faculty summer research fellowship, $4000, 2001).

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