We are pleased to announce Rasheed Gbadegesin, MD, MBBS and Nancie MacIver MD, PhD as the recipients of the 2020 Borden Scholars Award. These grants are possible thanks to a series of very generous gifts from Dr. Ernest and Louise Borden (Duke Medical and Nursing School alumni). The gift supports one-year awards that allow selected DMPI faculty to test new, emergent ideas with translational implications for which alternative sources of funding are not yet available. Dr. Borden received his medical degree from Duke School of Medicine and has had a long and successful career as a practicing Oncologist with research and clinical trials experience with immunomodulatory therapy in cancer at The Cleveland Clinic. In addition, he has held numerous national academic appointments including American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Gbadegesin’s proposal "The role of defects in CLVS1 gene in the pathogenesis of childhood nephrotic syndrome" aims to understand how genetic defects in CLVS1 gene will cause nephrotic syndrome that are amenable to corticosteroid treatment. His team recently identified a genetic variant CLVS1 H310Y as a novel cause of steroid sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS). In this study, Dr Gbadegesin and his team will use different genomic tools to analyze cell lines expressing defective CLVS1. The data generated from this study will lead to identification of new targets for the treatment of nephrotic syndrome and individualized approach to treatment of nephrotic syndrome.
Dr. MacIver’s research will focus on “Targeting T cell oxidative metabolism to improve immunity in obesity”. T cells from obese individuals have an altered metabolic phenotype characterized by increased glucose oxidation. This is important because T cell metabolism can influence T cell function and immune response. In preliminary data, Dr. MacIver has found that treatment of obese mice with the commonly prescribed anti-diabetes drug metformin, in order to target oxidative metabolism, can improve immune response and survival to an influenza challenge. Therefore, the overall objectives of this proposal are to examine the effect of metformin on T cell differentiation and function in response to influenza infection and to determine the metabolic mechanism(s) of increased T cell glucose oxidation in obesity both in vitro and in vivo.
Congratulations Rasheed and Nancie!