Nikolaos Tsoukias, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering (BME) at Florida International University, has been awarded a $2.6 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) – R01 grant as a principal investigator. The five-year grant aims to examine microvascular contributions to brain disorders such as cerebral small vessel diseases and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Tsoukis’s group, in collaboration with his long-standing partners at the University of Vermont, will investigate how small blood vessels sense neuronal activity and react to increase blood supply to the active brain region in health and in disease. Titled “Cerebral Microvascular Signaling and Neurovascular Coupling: An Integrated Approach to Investigate Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia,” the grant builds on Dr. Tsoukias’s long-standing strength in computational modeling.
As required by the NIH, the unique quality of the R01 grant program is that the results are specific and actionable. The grant must focus on a discrete problem, meaning that a funded project will have a narrow focus with a clear outcome. Each applicant must provide a public health relevance statement and make a clear connection between the subject to be studied and a direct benefit to public health.
“Indeed, with this R01, we now have seven active R01s where FIU’s BME faculty are the lead PI; we also have several where faculty are PI’s on subcontracts on collaborations with other universities,” says Ranu Jung, PhD, (Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering). “Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows play a significant role in affording us this success.”
The National Institutes of Health is the largest public funder of biomedical research around the globe. This support has led to life-saving treatments as well as an ever-growing body of research that paves the way to future breakthroughs. NIH funding comes in the form of grants, of which there are dozens of types.