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For Release: March 12, 2012
Contact: David Corriveau, (603) 653-1978

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation awards research grant to DMS' Madan

Juliette C. Madan, MD, MS

Hanover, N.H.—Under a grant of almost $300,000 from a non-profit affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) neonatologist Juliette C. Madan, MD, MS, will spend the next three years tracking the development of microbes in the lungs and intestines of infants with cystic fibrosis, in search of new approaches to treatment of patients with the genetic disease that causes life-threatening infection of the lungs and premature death.

The new funding from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc., through the Harry Shwachman Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Investigator Award, builds upon the CF Foundation's long-term support of research and development in cystic fibrosis (CF) at Dartmouth's Lung Biology Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), which taps the talents of a wide range of Dartmouth's clinicians and basic scientists. Bruce A. Stanton, Ph.D., holder of the Andrew C. Vail Memorial Professorship at Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) and director of the COBRE, is leading an initiative focused on cell biology and imaging with a four-year, $1.4-million grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Under the earlier CFF grant to the COBRE, Madan is using cutting-edge, deep-genomic sequencing technology to study how pathogens colonize the lungs of newborns to create chronic infections.

"I will use the new award to expand on this ongoing cohort study while also investigating changes in the lung and intestinal microbiome around the time of clinical complications in CF, and to begin the study of healthy infant controls," says Madan, an assistant professor of pediatrics at DMS. "This award is an invaluable opportunity for me to more completely investigate the role that microbes play in the development of CF beginning at birth, using the most innovative technology and bioinformatics techniques available."

Collaborating with Madan in the microbiome analysis are DMS bioinformaticists Thomas Hampton, Ph.D., Devin Koestler, Ph.D., and Jason H. Moore, Ph.D, director of Dartmouth's Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences. In addition to laboratory-based scientists examining the basic mechanisms underlying lung disease - such as Stanton and Madan's mentor, George O'Toole, PhD - physician-scientists who are joining Madan in clinical research on the earlier CFF grant include pulmonologists Alix Ashare, M.D., Alex Gifford, M.D., H. Worth Parker, M.D., and Richard I. Enelow, M.D., vice chair for research in the DMS Department of Medicine.

"We are very pleased that Dr. Madan has been recognized by the CF Foundation, which provides this award to physician-scientists who they feel will become national leaders in CF translational and clinical research," says Stanton, a DMS professor of microbiology and immunology. "Translation research is a major focus of the NIH and the CF Foundation, and the physician-scientists in our program, including Dr. Madan, are leading the field in this area."

An estimated 30,000 people in the United States and 70,000 worldwide are battling CF, in which a defective gene and the protein it produces lead to the buildup of thick mucus in the lungs, chronic infection of the lungs, and premature death. The median age for survival of CF patients is the late 30s.


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