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Kenneth Rainin Foundation Awards Over $2 Million To Advance IBD Research

949 Days ago

Grants will support 18 investigators who are testing novel ideas to improve outcomes for Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients; new awards reflect a commitment to gender equity.

Oakland, Calif., Oct. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has awarded $2.2 million through its Innovator Awards to advance Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research and improve patient outcomes. This funding supports innovative methodologies from scientists worldwide.

For the first time in the Rainin Foundation’s Health funding, half of the new Innovator Awards will support female investigators. This turning point comes as the Rainin Foundation celebrates 10 years of formal grantmaking and is working to embed equity in its work.

“When we realized the majority of our Health grants were going to men, we worked with our Scientific Advisory Board to address this disparity. I’m proud that we have gender equity in our new class of grantees,” said Laura Wilson, PhD, Director of Health Strategy and Ventures. “While this is an important first step, we will continue addressing barriers and biases that affect female researchers to ensure diverse perspectives are helping us solve IBD.”

2019 Innovator Award grantees include:

  • Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Gretchen Diehl, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Edward Giles, MD, PhD, Monash University
  • David Julius, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
  • Cammie Lesser, PhD, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Yan Chun Li, PhD, University of Chicago
  • Susan Lynch, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
  • Mark Travis, PhD, University of Manchester

The Foundation’s Health grants focus on research that has the potential to improve the prediction, prevention and treatment of IBD. Grantees will use preclinical models, patient samples and key bacteria to advance their research. One project will test the ability of engineered probiotics to deliver treatments to specific disease sites, while another will explore bacteria that could protect the gut.

“As a physician scientist, I dream of translating the fundamental research findings generated in my lab towards the development of novel therapeutic interventions,” said Cammie Lesser, PhD, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital. “Funding from the Rainin Foundation will support this goal as my group works to develop designer probiotic bacteria for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”

The Foundation also granted continued support to ten Innovator Award grantees from 2017 and 2018 who made significant progress toward their goals. These grantees include:

  • Christian Brendel, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Benoit Chassaing, PhD, INSERM
  • Ajay Chawla, MD, University of California, San Francisco
  • Marcia Goldberg, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Timothy Hand, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
  • Holly Ingraham, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
  • Rustem Ismagilov, PhD, California Institute of Technology
  • Roni Nowarski, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Read Pukkila-Worley, MD, FIDSA, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Neal Silverman, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School

“The support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation will enable us to test how genetic predispositions may contribute to the development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” said Marcia Goldberg, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital. “Increased understanding in this area has the potential to enable the development of new therapies that might treat or prevent the disease.”

In addition to its grantmaking, the Foundation announced that it will host its ninth annual Innovations Symposium on July 27-28, 2020, in San Francisco. This event will bring together noted experts, trainees, researchers and clinicians from around the world to advance the study of IBD.

To learn more about the Foundation’s research funding areas, grantees, and strategy for solving IBD, visit: krfoundation.org/ibd.

About the Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a family foundation that collaborates with creative thinkers in the Arts, Education and Health. At the Rainin Foundation, we believe in taking smart risks to achieve breakthroughs. We support visionary artists in the Bay Area, create opportunities for Oakland’s youngest learners, and fund researchers on the forefront of scientific discoveries. Since 2010, the Foundation has awarded over $11 million for promising scientific research projects with the potential to impact treatment and prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. More at krfoundation.org



Kenneth Rainin Foundation

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