RESEARCH > Urology Care Foundation Research Awards > Researcher Profiles

Researcher Profiles

To find out more on these exceptional individuals and their research projects please click on their name below.

2012 - 2014 Research Scholars 2013 - 2014 Research Scholars
Peter Chang, MD
Timothy Daskivich, MD
Shankar Parajuli, PhD
Sargurunathan Subashchandrabose, PhD
Flaminia Talos, MD, PhD
Dan Wang, PhD

 

Christopher Filson, MD
Philip Ho, MD
Mark Preston, MD
Matthew Resnick, MD
Neal Rowe, MD
Anthony Schaeffer, MD
Dana Weiss, MD

 

2013 - 2015 Research Scholars  
Christopher Barbieri, MD, PhD
Jennifer Bishop, PhD
Saunders Ching, PhD
Arindam Ghosh, PhD
Johanna Hannan, PhD
Mahendra Kashyap, PhD
Dirk Lange, PhD

2012 - 2014 Research Scholars

Peter Chang, MD

Peter Chang, MD

Project Title: "Measuring Patient-Reported Prostate Cancer Outcomes at the Point of Care"

Institution: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Mentors: Martin Sanda, MD; Andrew Wagner, MD & Donna Berry, PhD, RN

Sponsor: Dornier MedTech

Quality of care is a complex entity that can be evaluated from the perspective of the provider and the patient. Examples of the patient perspective of care quality include health-related quality of life (HRQOL), anxiety, and regret. Patient-reported outcome (PRO) evaluation is the cornerstone of assessing care quality from the patient perspective, but its use in prostate cancer has predominantly been limited to the research realm, and their adoption in routine clinical care processes has lagged because validated instruments for measuring patient-reported outcomes are too onerous to enable real-time measurement at the point of care. Dr. Chang's research goal is to better enable the integration of PRO measures into the routine clinical care of prostate cancer patients by adapting validated PRO instruments for use at the point of care. The feasibility of Dr. Chang's work lies in the observation that as the increasing prevalence of digital devices may be expanding the clinical setting into the comfort of patients homes, the use of digital PRO instruments may widen PRO dissemination. Accomplishing the aims of this study would provide future recommendations to patients and physicians on how to optimize PRO instrument use in the routine clinical practice, with the overall goal of promoting patient-centered care and improving care quality.

Dornier MedTech

[ return to top ]
Timothy Daskivich, MD

Timothy Daskivich, MD

Project Title: "The Impact of Age and Comorbidity on Survival and Treatment Decision Making in Men with Early-Stage Prostate Cancer"

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

Mentor: Mark Litwin, MD, MPH

Sponsor: AUA Western Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

While early-stage prostate cancer is a common disease, tumors are often slow-growing and take a long time to cause symptoms or affect survival. Aggressive treatment of early-stage disease often causes side effects such as erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and bowel dysfunction that can significantly affect quality of life. As a result, current treatment guidelines recommend that men with multiple major medical conditions who have a high risk of dying from other causes should not be treated aggressively for localized prostate cancer. However, because there is very little information on how other medical conditions and age relate to life expectancy, it is hard to counsel men for or against aggressive treatment. In fact, studies have shown that men with multiple major medical conditions are being overtreated with aggressive therapy despite a low likelihood of long-term benefit. Dr. Daskivich's research aims to study men insured by Medicare and United Health Care to determine the impact of age and comorbid conditions on long-term risk of death from other-causes, so that men can be better informed about their likelihood of benefit before committing to aggressive treatment. His research will also analyze how many men are being overtreated for early-stage disease based on their comorbid conditions, and then determine the medical and financial costs of overtreatment.

AUA Western Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

[ return to top ]
Shankar Parajuli, PhD

Shankar Parajuli, PhD
2012 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Funded by the Allergan Foundation

Project Title: "Pharamacological Activation of Small and Intermediate Conductance Calcium Activated Potassium Channels: A Novel Approach to Control Urinary Bladder Smooth Muscle Function"

Institution: University of South Carolina

Mentor: Georgi Petkov, PhD

Sponsor: The Allergan Foundation

Dr. Parajuli’s research is associated with urinary bladder disorders such as overactive bladder (OAB) and urinary incontinence (UI). Structural and functional change in bladder function can damage the upper urinary tract, and these bladder impairments result in increased bladder contractility characterized by involuntary and frequent urination. The elderly population and especially women are frequently affected with these problems and, as a result, often experience social discomfort and embarrassment. A balance in bladder contraction and relaxation by which urine is expelled from the bladder and stored in the bladder respectively, is necessary for healthy urinary bladder functions. The cause of urinary disease is principally due to the alteration in urine storage and micturation mechanism. The physiological function of the urinary bladder is regulated by the opening and closing of ion channels existing in cell membrane, and a malfunction in this mechanism results in urinary diseases. Dr. Parajuli’s research proposes to study these channels and generate findings that will ultimately help to develop new pharmacological approaches for the treatment of urinary bladder disorders such as OAB and UI.

The Allergan Foundation

[ return to top ]
Sargurunathan Subashchandrabose, PhD

Sargurunathan Subashchandrabose, PhD

Project Title: "The Identification of Genes Expressed in Uropathogenic Escherichia coli During Human Infection"

Institution: University of Michigan

Mentor: Harry Mobley, PhD

Sponsor: AUA North Central Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

Bacterial infections of the urinary tract are major public health problems. In the United States alone, around 11 million cases of urinary tract infections occur annually. The majority of these infections are caused by a group of bacteria known as the uropathogenic Escherichia coli. These bacteria contain approximately 5,000 genes. Some of these gene products are required to cause urinary tract infections in humans, and Dr. Subashchandrabose's research is aimed at identifying these gene products. The research goal would be to enable the development of new treatment options for urinary tract infections.

AUA North Central Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

[ return to top ]
Flaminia Talos, MD, PhD

Flaminia Talos, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Directed Differentiation and Transdifferentiation to Prostate and Bladder Epithelia"

Institution: Columbia University Medical Center

Mentor: Michael Shen, PhD

Sponsor: AUA New York Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

In recent years, the field of stem cell biology became extremely interesting through the breakthrough discovery that only four factors known to maintain embryonic stem cells in an undifferentiated state are also able to "reprogram" terminally differentiated adult cells, such as cells derived from skin connective tissue to a pluripotent state similar to embryonic stem cells. This discovery eliminates the ethical problems related to harvesting and manipulating embryonic stem cells and opens new possibilities for regenerative personalized medicine. However, in order to be used in organ rehabilitation, the induced pluripotent stem cells have to be re-differentiated into desired target tissue, a process which is lengthy and inefficient. Dr. Talos' research proposes to use the same type of approach, i.e., to load tissue-specific master regulator factors into easily accessible cell types in order to re-direct their functionality towards other type of tissues which are not so readily accessible. Specifically, Dr. Talos proposes to convert connective cells from the skin into bladder and prostate epithelium. This would generate new model systems to study prostate epithelial pathologies and would be directly beneficial for patients with bladder exstrophy or who need cystoplasty following surgery for bladder cancer.

AUA New York Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

[ return to top ]
Dan Wang, PhD

Dan Wang, PhD

Project Title: "Role of PRP8 in Regulating AR Intracellular Trafficking in Prostate Cancer Cells"

Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Mentor: Zhou Wang, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Northeastern Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

The goal of Dr. Wang's research is to identify novel proteins regulating androgen receptor localization and prostate cancer progression to castration-resistance. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among men in the U.S., and the androgen receptor (AR) is a key protein in prostate cancer development and progression. In early stage prostate cancer, AR localization is androgen dependent, and the patients are favorably responsive to androgen ablation treatment. As prostate cancer progresses, AR localization becomes androgen-independent and the cancer becomes castration-resistant. Dr. Wang's research will utilize the latest molecular biology techniques to investigate novel proteins regulating AR localization, and examine whether these proteins can restore androgen dependence in advanced prostate cancer. This study is expected to provide insights on mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development and may provide novel therapeutic targets for castration-resistant prostate cancer.

AUA Northeastern Section Research Scholar Endowment Fund

[ return to top ]

2013 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholars

2013 - 2014 Research Scholars

Christopher Filson, MD

Christopher Filson, MD

Project Title: Understanding Utilization of Expectant Management Among Prostate Cancer Patients in an Integrated Delivery System

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

Mentors: Mark S. Litwin, MD, MPH, and Timothy J. Wilt, MD, MPH

Sponsor: Urology Care Foundation

Many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer that is unlikely to be lethal, and nearly half of cases will not cause clinical problems during a man's life. Despite this, expectant management of men with prostate cancer is infrequently utilized. Dr. Filson’s research hopes to allow for an improved understanding of the utilization of expectant management of men with prostate cancer, and to more clearly assess how patient and physician factors are associated with its use.

Urology Care Foundation

[ return to top ]
 
Philip Ho, MD

Philip Ho, MD

Project Title: The Prognostic and Therapeutic Significance of Stat3 in Bladder Urothelial Carcinoma

Institution: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Mentors: Keith S. Chan, PhD, and Ashish M. Kamat, MD

Sponsor: Urology Care Foundation

Despite the introduction of platinum-based chemotherapy in the late 1980s, survival from advanced and metastatic bladder cancer remains poor even after radical cystectomy. Recent efforts have attempted to identify patients with aggressive disease with the use of molecular markers. Tumors with elevated markers for bladder cancer stem cells (CSCs) – cells with the ability to 1) renew itself, 2) differentiate into more mature cells, and 3) initiate tumor formation – have been shown to correlate with decreased survival in patients. These cells have been identified as a basal subtype of bladder cancer cells. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) is a protein implicated in a number of malignancies and appears to drive the expansion of bladder CSCs. Dr. Ho’s previous work has demonstrated that Stat3 expression is found in the basal subtype of bladder cancer cells. In addition, he has shown that transgenic mice overexpressing Stat3 develop invasive bladder tumors that are predominantly composed of basal cancer stem cells.

Dr. Ho's research aims to determine the relationship between the expression of Stat3 in human bladder cancer, presence of CSCs, and patients' clinical outcomes. In addition, he will study the ability of Stat3 pathway inhibitors to alter, and possibly suppress, the progression and growth of bladder cancer. Findings from this research may lead to improved identification of patients with high-risk disease who may benefit from early, aggressive treatment and may lead to new therapeutic approaches to the disease.

Urology Care Foundation

[ return to top ]
Mark Preston, MD

Mark Preston, MD

Project Title: The Association between Finasteride and High-Grade or Lethal Prostate Cancer

Institution: Harvard School of Public Health/Massachusetts General Hospital

Mentors: Aria F. Olumi, MD, and Lorelei A. Mucci, ScD

Sponsor: Robert J. Krane, MD Urology Research Scholar Fund

Finasteride is a common medication for treating benign prostate enlargement. Despite its widespread use among older men, there is a lot of controversy about its known benefits, and serious potential risk when used for prostate cancer prevention. Previous large trials have shown that while this medication can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men by 25%, there was an unexpected, small increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. High-grade prostate cancer is a concern since it is more likely to require surgery or radiation treatment and results in death more commonly than low-grade cancer. Dr. Preston’s research will, for the first time, explore a potential cause of Finasteride-induced high-grade prostate cancer and, within a group of 50,000 U.S. men, determine whether this medication does, in fact, cause lethal disease.

[ return to top ]
Matthew Resnick, MD

Matthew Resnick, MD

Project Title: Self-Referral for Advanced Imaging in the Management of Urolithiasis: Implications for Utilization and Quality of Care

Institution: Vanderbilt University

Mentor: David F. Penson, MD, MPH

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund

Urinary stone disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed and treated urologic conditions in the United States. Accordingly, the economic impact of the disease is significant, with total expenditures related to the treatment of stone disease exceeding $2 billion in 2000, with much of these costs related to imaging. The practice of in-office advanced imaging has raised concerns among policymakers regarding the potential for financially driven self-referral, the practice by which a physician refers a patient for a procedure or test in which the same physician has financial interest in providing that service. It is currently unknown whether physician ownership and self-referral changes the rate of imaging utilization following the diagnosis of urinary stone disease. Furthermore, it is unknown whether self-referral reduces the time to treatment and ultimately improves overall efficiency and quality of care. The goal of Dr. Resnick's research is to determine whether there exists differences in utilization of CT scanning secondary to self-referral in a population of Medicare beneficiaries following the diagnosis of urinary stone disease. Furthermore, he hopes to determine whether self-referral improves the time to treatment and ultimately reduces the duration of stone-related disease episodes.

AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund

[ return to top ]
Neal Rowe, MD

Neal Rowe, MD

Project Title: Understanding and Expanding the Protective Effects of Hydrogen Sulphide Against Renal Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

Institution: University of Western Ontario

Mentor: Alp Sener, MD, PhD

Sponsor: Frank and Marion Hinman Urology Research Fund

One of the inherent problems in the field of renal transplantation is the injury to kidneys during the peritransplant period. A lack of blood flow following organ procurement and the subsequent restoration of blood flow following transplantation are directly involved in this type of injury. Dr. Rowe's research will be evaluating the protective effects of hydrogen sulphide molecules on renal grafts. This may provide a means to improve the quality and longevity of donor organs at a time when organ availability is a major limitation to transplantation.

[ return to top ]
Anthony Schaeffer, MD

Anthony Schaeffer, MD

Project Title: PROMIS-ing Continence: Development and Validation of a Novel Patient-Reported Pediatric Urinary Incontinence Measure

Institution: Boston Children's Hospital

Mentors: Caleb P. Nelson, MD; Jin-Shei Lai, PhD; and Karen A. Kuhlthau, PhD

Sponsor: AUA New England Section Research Scholar Fund

Involuntary urinary leakage affects up to 20% of school-age children and places significant psychological burdens on children and their families. This makes an accurate, reliable and streamlined approach to measuring both the amount and impact of incontinence an important goal for clinicians and patients. No questionnaire comprehensively assesses both the amount and frequency of leakage or its impact on the child’s quality of life in a single format. Therefore, we do not fully understand the correlation between the degree of leakage and its psychological impact, and often tailor treatment towards symptomatic improvement without fully grasping the psychological ramifications of the disease or its treatment.

Dr. Schaeffer will use the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) framework to develop an incontinence questionnaire for 8- to 17-year-old children that simultaneously captures the amount, frequency and associated symptoms of urinary leakage together with an assessment of the effect of leakage on a child’s quality of life. The PROMIS system uniquely incorporates the patient's perspective (in this case, the incontinent child) throughout the development process; it also capitalizes on computerized testing to decrease patient burden and increase the efficiency of the questionnaire. The result will be a validated and reliable, self-reported, patient-centered, computerized assessment tool that captures both quantitative aspects of leakage and their impact on quality of life, and facilitates reliable and accurate patient-reported outcomes in clinical research studies.

AUA New England Section Research Scholar Fund

[ return to top ]

2013 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Award Funded by the Allergan Foundation Scholar

Dana Weiss, MD

Dana Weiss, MD

Project Title: Neurologic and Pharmacologic Basis Behind the Long Term Effects of Social Stress Induced Voiding Dysfunction

Institution: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Mentors: Stephen A. Zderic, MD, and Rita J. Valentino, PhD

Sponsor: The Allergan Foundation

Studies have shown that when mice are placed in stressful situations, they begin to urinate differently. In addition, even when they are taken out of the stressful situation, they continue to urinate differently. It is known that there are certain areas of the brain that control urination, and there are certain signals in the brain and body that are related to stress. Dr. Weiss' research aims to find out whether those signals that are created in response to stress are found in the brain or in the spinal cord or in the bladder, and if so, if they continue to be seen in those places even when the stress is removed.

The Allergan Foundation

[ return to top ]

2013 - 2015 Research Scholars

Christopher Barbieri, MD, PhD

Christopher Barbieri, MD, PhD

Project Title: SPOP Mutations in Prostate Cancer – Definition of a Distinct Molecular Subclass

Institution: Weill Cornell Medical College

Mentor: Mark A. Rubin, MD

Sponsor: Center for Prostate Disease Research

Prostate cancer has variable patient outcomes, and current information poorly distinguishes between slow-growing cancers that will never threaten a patient's health, and aggressive cancers that will rapidly progress to metastatic disease. Molecular classification can improve patient outcomes by defining distinct subtypes of prostate cancer associated with specific genetic alterations, but at this point limited numbers of genetic lesions driving prostate cancer are known.

There have been recently discovered mutations in the SPOP gene in 10-15% of human prostate cancers; each year over 20,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer containing these mutations. Prostate cancers with SPOP mutations lack other common genetic alterations, but have specific molecular characteristics, defining this as a distinct class of prostate cancer. This raises the possibility that SPOP-mutant prostate cancers will have specific biomarkers for diagnosis and specific effects on patient prognosis, and will possibly be amenable to specific management strategies and targeted therapy.

Center for Prostate Disease Research

[ return to top ]
Jennifer Bishop, PhD

Jennifer Bishop, PhD

Project Title: Beyond the AR: Characterizing Cell Plasticity in Prostate Cancer Resistant to 2nd Generation Anti-Androgens

Institution: University of British Columbia

Mentor: Amina Zoubeidi, PhD

Sponsor: Urology Care Foundation

One in seven men in North America will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and many will undergo therapies targeting androgens, which promote tumor growth, in hopes of controlling their disease. Inevitably, however, these patients develop lethal castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), a disease which is especially drug resistant. Dr. Bishop will study the responses of CRPC tumor cells to novel anti-prostate cancer therapies in an attempt to understand why they become drug resistant and to identify molecular changes in the cells that may be targeted to improve CRPC treatments. Her work suggests that a more primitive cancer stem cell may contribute to drug resistance by giving rise to various types of aggressive tumor cells during disease progression. Ultimately, Dr. Bishop aims to target these diverse CRPC cells with new drugs that will hopefully improve survival of prostate cancer patients.

Urology Care Foundation

[ return to top ]
Saunders Ching, PhD

Saunders Ching, PhD

Project Title: Sprouty Genes are Required for Mammalian Genital Development

Institution: University of California, San Francisco

Mentor: Laurence Baskin, MD

Sponsor: Amgen, Inc.

Hypospadias is a birth defect that affects the fetal development of the penis. This results in defective formation of the urethra and abnormal placement of the urethral opening on the underside of the penis. Consequently, it can cause severe psychosexual problems and voiding abnormalities despite the best efforts at surgical reconstruction. It is one of the most common birth defects, affecting approximately 1 in every 250-300 live male births, but the genetic causes of hypospadias are not clearly understood.

The goal of Dr. Ching's research is to identify the genes and molecular pathways that regulate genital development. By using genetic knockout mice, he has characterized an animal model of hypospadias that can be used to identify the critical genes involved in genital development. The knowledge gained from these studies may lead to improved treatments, better prenatal diagnosis and prevention of hypospadias in human patients.

Dr. Ching recently published an article in Developmental Biology on his work supported by the Urology Care Foundation and Amgen®. Read more about the article entitled, "Coordinated activity of Spry1 and Spry2 is required for normal development of the external genitalia."

Amgen, Inc.

[ return to top ]
Arindam Ghosh, PhD

Arindam Ghosh, PhD

Project Title: mTOR Regulation of Renal Cancer

Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mentor: Sunil Sudarshan, MD

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund

Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common types of cancer in men and women, affecting over 300,000 people in the United States. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as a biologically significant pathway in renal cancers, as several studies have reported an increase in mTOR signaling in renal cancers in comparison to normal renal tissue. Recent deep sequencing efforts of renal tumor samples have identified mutations in mTOR. Dr. Ghosh aims to characterize the functional significance of these point mutations with regard to their tumorigenic potential and define the mechanisms by which mTOR is activated in renal tumors.

AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund

[ return to top ]
Johanna Hannan, PhD

Johanna Hannan, PhD

Project Title: The Role of STIM/Orai Calcium Signaling in Peripheral Cavernous Nerve Injury

Institution: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes

Mentors: Arthur L. Burnett, MD, MBA, and Trinity J. Bivalacqua, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Mid-Atlantic Section Research Scholar Fund

Prostate cancer is currently the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and remains a significant health problem. The mortality rates of this disease are much lower due to early diagnosis and radical prostatectomy for surgical management of clinically localized prostate cancer. Advances in the field of neurourology have focused on the development and implementation of strategies for preserving the functional integrity of the cavernous nerves and the penile vasculature following radical prostatectomy in order to improve postoperative erectile function outcomes.

Nonetheless, common side effects from the treatment of the diseases such as erectile and urinary dysfunction still exist. Dr. Hannan's research will focus on identifying a novel signaling pathway (STIM/Orai) involved in cavernous nerve axonal regeneration after injury with the goal of perseveration of neuroregulatory control of penile erection. The findings of her study may be used to develop new disease-specific pharmacotherapies for the treatment of post-prostatectomy erectile dysfunction as well as other peripheral nervous system neuropathic conditions.

AUA Mid-Atlantic Section Research Scholar Fund

[ return to top ]

2013 Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Award Funded by the Allergan Foundation Scholar

Mahendra Kashyap, PhD

Mahendra Kashyap, PhD

Project Title: Characterization of Neurogenic and Myogenic Changes Induced by Overexpression of BDNF in Bladder

Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Mentors: Naoki Yoshimure, PhD; Pradeep Tyagi, PhD; and William C. Degroat, PhD

Sponsor: The Allergan Foundation

Understanding of the causes underlying OAB remain uncertain, and it is generally defined by the symptom of urgency, which is often associated with detrusor overactivity (DO) seen during the storage phase of micturition. Dr. Kashyap's research project is focused on elucidating the role played by abnormal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in bladder functions and the phenotypic changes in sympathetic nerves brought about by BDNF that have implications in the OAB symptoms. These studies might advance knowledge on the biological basis of OAB and perhaps translate the knowledge to clinical use.

Dr. Kashyap will attend the 2014 winter meeting of “Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction” (SUFU) to be held in Miami, Florida, to present his abstract entitled “Constitutively Active Hcn Channels Facilitate Relaxation of Spontaneously Contracting Rat Bladder”.

The Allergan Foundation

[ return to top ]

2013 Joseph Segura, MD Scholarship in Endourology and Stone Management

Dirk Lange, PhD

Dirk Lange, PhD

Project Title: Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms Triggering Stent-induced Ureteral Aperistalsis

Institution: University of British Columbia

Mentors: S. Larry Goldenberg, MD; Ben H. Chew, MD; and Ralph Buttyan, PhD

Sponsor: Boston Scientific Corporation, The Endourological Society, and the "Friends of Joe"

When a person has a kidney stone, small plastic straw-like tubes called "stents" can be inserted past the blocking stone to help urine flow freely from the kidney into the bladder. While assisting overall urine flow, stents are known to interfere with the normal functioning of the ureter, the tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder and drives urine flow. This results in severe discomfort to the patient and, if not addressed, can result in damage to the kidneys. The purpose of Dr. Lange's study is to better understand the mechanisms that result in the disrupted functioning of the stented ureter, as it can lead to the development of a drug to counteract these effects and improve the treatment available to the millions of North Americans suffering from kidney stone disease.

Boston Scientific Corporation The Endourological Society Friends of Joe
[ return to top ]

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT
Donate
Contact
Press/Media
Sections
Term of Use
Site Map


ADVERTISEMENT