NHF is pleased to announce this year’s Judith Graham Pool (JGP) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship recipients: Brian Ingram, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Yingyu Chen, PhD, of the Blood Research Institute in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Since 1972, NHF’s JGP postdoctoral research fellowships have been supporting innovative projects in clinical and basic science research leading to a better understanding of the biochemical and genetic aspects of bleeding disorders. The JGP fellowship awards provide research support for up to two years. Overall funding for NHF’s research grant programs comes from the generous contributions made by NHF chapters, individuals, corporations and other foundations.
Dr. Brian Ingram has been awarded the Janet and Jim Glass JGP Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Funding for this award was made possible by Hemophilia of Georgia. Dr. Ingram’s research project is the “Biochemical Characterization of Vitamin K Epoxide Reductase.” His research will involve Vitamin K, and specifically the role of the Vitamin K Epoxide Reductase (VKOR) enzyme as it relates to coagulation. Deficiencies in VKOR, although rare, can lead to bleeding. Since the gene for VKOR was only recently identified in 2004, the goal of Dr. Ingram’s research will be to gain a better understanding of the enzyme’s biochemical properties and function. This information could lead to the design and development of more effective therapeutics for blood disorders.
Dr. Ingram earned his PhD in Biochemistry from Duke University and already has two first-author publications resulting from his PhD research. He has been a postdoctoral research fellow since 2010. He will pursue his research under the mentorship of Dr. Darrel Stafford, Professor of Biology and Pathology at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Dr. Yingyu Chen has been awarded the Bill Riley, Jr., JGP Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Funding for this award was made possible by Hemophilia of Georgia. Dr. Chen’s research project is “In vivo Selection of Hematopoietic Stem Cells that are Genetically-Modified to Express Platelet-FVIII for Hemophilia A Gene Therapy.” The goal of Dr. Chen’s research is to examine a method for selectively expanding hematopoietic stem cells expressing the factor VIII transgene. She will also examine the immune consequences of this approach, based on the idea that gene transfer in platelets evades immune recognition. This research has the potential to elicit important clues to developing an approach for gene therapy of hemophilia A and hemophilia A with inhibitors.
Dr. Chen earned a PhD in hematology from Fujian Medical University in China. She already has more than 27 papers published in the Chinese medical literature. Her research in hemophilia and gene therapy will be under the mentorship of Dr. Qizhen Shi, MD, PhD, Associate Investigator at the Blood Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Pediatric Hematology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
The selection of these two fellowship award recipients is the culmination of a very thoughtful and competitive peer review process conducted by NHF’s Research Review Committee. This volunteer committee is made up of highly experienced and expert physicians and researchers in the field of hematology. An open request for letters of intent was made in late 2010. All letters were reviewed. Candidates whose letters met with approval were subsequently invited to submit their full applications to NHF.
Since 1972, NHF has funded 74 scientists for either one- or two-year studies, which have produced vital insights into hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. The research of JGP fellows has contributed to the development of better concentrates, improved methods of screening and testing, as well as a more detailed understanding of the genetics of hemophilia. To make a donation in support of NHF's Research Grant Programs, please click here (select “research” tab)