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New Round of Grants for RFU, DePaul Research Collaboration Targets Malaria, Smoking and Septic Shock

Malaria, cigarette smoking and septic shock kill millions of people every year. In a fresh round of funding, RFU and DePaul University are supporting faculty research projects that bring together artificial intelligence and biomedical discovery to address these health care challenges.

The two universities have partnered since 2012 through the Alliance for Health Sciences, which streamlines the path for DePaul student entry to RFU master's or doctoral programs. In 2022, RFU and DePaul formed the Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Discovery and Healthcare grant program, which awards competitive funding grants to research teams that must include at least one principal investigator from each university.

The latest round of grants, totaling a combined $200,510, launched interdisciplinary research teams that include robotics experts, computer engineers, a biophysicist, a psychologist and an immunologist.

“These grants and the teams receiving them provide more evidence of the likely critical advances to emerge from the RFU/DePaul collaboration,” said Ronald S. Kaplan, PhD, RFU’s executive vice president for research. “Hundreds of millions of people worldwide stand to benefit from biomedical research like this, and RFU looks forward to continuing our DePaul partnership and driving these projects to fruition.”

The projects, principal investigators and award amounts include:

  • “SmokeSense: Advancing Wrist-Worn Devices with AI for Real-Time Smoking Insights” —  RFU: Nancy Jao, PhD; DePaul: Mahdi Pedram, PhD; $66,835. Incorporating cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies, the project aims to  develop an innovative, privacy-conscious, wrist-worn device (SmokeSense) to detect and track real-time cigarette smoking behaviors passively.
  • “Validation of Inhalation Therapy to Enhance Anti-Malarial Immune Response Using Machine Learning” — DePaul: Thiru Ramaraj (CDM); RFU: Rahul Vijay, PhD, DVM; $67,000. An investigation of why naturally acquired immunity to malaria offers limited clinical protection and fails to mount sterilizing immunity.
  • “Self-Operating System for Circulatory Management of Sepsis, Severe Sepsis, and Septic Shock” — RFU: Raul Gazmuri, MD, PhD, FCCM; DePaul: Mohammad Umer Huzaifa, PhD; $66,675. Designed to develop an automatic system for the hemodynamic management of sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock, using overlapping closed-loop systems and interlocked controllers to optimize the delivery of fluids, vasopressors and inotropic drugs.
Posted February 1
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