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RESEARCH > Award Recipients


Research Scholar Profiles

Congratulations to the new 2016 AUA/Urology Care Foundation Research Scholars! Scroll down to find out more on these exceptional individuals and their research projects.

2016 – 2017 Research Scholars

2016 – 2018 Research Scholars

Scott Haake, MD
Alan Kaplan, MD
Haeyeong Lee, PhD
Sanghee Lee, PhD
U-Ging Lo, PhD
Bronagh McDonnell, PhD
Henry Okafor, MD
Simpa Salami, MD, MPH
Arjun Sivaraman, MBBS, MCH
Paul Toren, MD
Jason Van Batavia, MD
Jeffrey White, MD, PhD

Christina Ching, MD
Paul Dominguez Gutierrez, PhD
Ryan Flannigan, MD
Eugene Lee, MD
Suk Hyung Lee, PhD
Scott Manson, PhD
Laura Mike, PhD
Ranjith Ramasamy, MD
Mirja Rotinen, PhD
Brian Shuch, MD
Hosu Sin, PhD
Geoff Sonn, MD
Adriana Vidal, PhD
Kyle Wood, MD

2014 – 2016 Research Scholars

2015 – 2016 Research Scholars

Irina Debnath, PhD
Sonia Fargue, MD, PhD
Chunming Guo, PhD
Andrew Hau, PhD
Shu Lin, PhD
Tomasz Owczarek, PhD
Sungyong You, PhD
Bernadette Zwaans, PhD

Aditya Bagrodia, MD
Zarine Balsara, MD, PhD
Michael Johnson, MD
Austin Kirschner, MD, PhD
Shihong Ma, PhD
Akanksha Mehta, MD
Yasser Noureldin, MD, PhD
Anobel Odisho, MD, MPH
George Schade, MD

2015 – 2017 Research Scholars

Zheng Cao, PhD
Abraham Hakimi, MD
Petra Popovics, PhD
Vijay Samineni, PhD


2016 – 2017 RESEARCH SCHOLARS

Scott Haake, MD

Scott Haake, MD

Project Title: "Novel Mechanisms of SETD2 Tumorigenesis in Kidney Cancer"

Institution: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Mentor: Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund I

In cancer, mutations in genes reprogram the function of normal cells so that they behave in a very aggressive manner. Proteins are the molecular machinery that perform the function of cells. A normal cell can be reprogrammed into a cancer cell by 1) inserting cancer proteins or 2) modifying the function of normal proteins so that they carry out cancer functions. Our novel research proposal is the first to study how a commonly mutated gene in kidney cancer, SETD2, reprograms proteins and thus promotes the evolution of normal kidney cells into cancer.

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Alan Kaplan, MD

Alan Kaplan, MD

Project Title: "Value-based care redesign in urology: Can quality and cost data feedback change physician behavior?"

Institution: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Mentor: Mark Litwin, MD, MPH and Christopher Saigal, MD, MPH

Sponsor: AUA Western Section Research Scholar Fund I

High value healthcare achieves excellent clinical outcomes and a good patient experience at a low cost. The current healthcare landscape fails to meet these goals. By redesigning our care in a common urologic condition, we hope to study the most effective ways to guide that switch. We are giving doctors direct feedback about the value of the care they provide using health information technology and high quality data. By rigorously studying how doctors react, we hope to inform policy on ways our healthcare system can provide patients better care at a lower cost.

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Haeyeong Lee, PhD

Haeyeong Lee, PhD

Project Title: "Molecular and functional characterization of PDGFRa+ cells in CYP-induced interstitial cystitis"

Institution: Department of Physiology & Cell Biology, University of Nevada, Reno

Mentor: Sang Don Koh, PhD

Sponsor: Interstitial Cystitis Association

This application seeks to explore novel mechanisms that lead to urinary symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. The successful completion of this project will significantly impact our current understanding of the mechanisms associated with urinary symptoms and reveal new diagnostic and therapeutic targets for interstitial cystitis.

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Sanghee Lee, PhD

Sanghee Lee, PhD

Project Title: "Mechanisms of neurogenic voiding dysfunction in a murine model of multiple sclerosis"

Institution: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Mentor: Anna Malykhina, PhD

Sponsor: Olympus

Patients diagnosed with neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson`s and Alzheimer's diseases develop a wide range of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) including urinary urgency, urinary incontinence, nocturia, a sensation of incomplete emptying, and a weak urinary stream. Given the unfavorable side effect profile of the available pharmacological approaches for these patients, more innovative treatments are desperately needed. To develop novel therapeutics, a greater understanding of the pathophysiology and patterns of neurogenic LUTS is required. Therefore, in this proposal we will determine the mechanisms by which neurodegenerative changes in the CNS affect the function of the urinary bladder, and will utilize a mouse model of MS as an example of a neurodegenerative disorder.

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U-Ging Lo, MD

U-Ging Lo, PhD

Project Title: "A new microRNA biogenesis machinery mediated by IFIT5 complex leading to metastasis progression of prostate cancer"

Institution: University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center

Mentor: Jer-Tsong Hsieh, PhD

Sponsor: AUA South Central Section Research Scholar Fund II

Prostate cancer (PCa) patients treated with androgen-deprivation therapy often relapse with highly aggressive castration resistance PCa, which contributes to the majority of mortality in PCa. Hence, identifying molecular mechanism(s) that drive aggressive PCa at early stage becomes critical for therapeutic strategy development. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small noncoding RNA molecules regulating multiple biological processes. Many miRNAs are tightly correlated with tumor development and progression. We unveiled a new miRNA turnover machinery composed of Interferon-induced tetratricopeptide repeat 5 (IFIT5), which is able to degrade a specific population of miRNAs with unique 5’end precursor structure. Therefore, we will examine the role of IFIT5-mediated miRNA turnover machinery in PCa progression toward highly metastasized stages.

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Bronagh McDonnell, PhD

Bronagh McDonnell, PhD

Project Title: "Influence of chronic stress on sensory changes in IC/PBS"

Institution: University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mentor: Larissa Rodriguez, MD and Lori Birder, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Northeastern Section Research Scholar Fund I

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is a chronic, painful condition associated with urinary frequency and urgency. There is substantial evidence that supports a role for emotional stress in the exacerbation (and possibly development) of generalized pain syndromes such as IC/BPS as well as micturition disorders. Further, chronic stress and bladder dysfunction in IC/BPS may be related to autonomic (adrenergic) dysregulation that influences nociceptive signaling. Changes in sensory mechanisms are important in patients diagnosed with IC/BPS. While previously known of as a simple barrier, the epithelial cells which line the bladder lumen (urothelium) is associated with the nervous system and sensory input arising at the urothelial surface regulates bladder function to higher centers via a local urothelial-afferent signaling pathway. The goals of this project are to explore the effect of chronic stress on urothelial-related functional elements in the bladder wall. Our preliminary data show that chronic stress correlates with altered urothelial release of mediators that can adversely impact sensation and bladder function. Thus, our overall hypothesis is that chronic stress significantly impacts urothelial-afferent signaling and this, in turn, leads to altered voiding function and symptoms of pain.

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Henry Okafor, MD

Henry Okafor, MD

Project Title: "The impact of tissue regeneration on rodent models of Intersitial cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome (IC/PBS)"

Institution: Cleveland Clinic

Mentor: Margot Damaser, PhD and Daniel Shoskes, MD

Sponsor: Interstitial Cystitis Association

Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder syndrome (IC/PBS) is a debilitating medical condition that is difficult to treat because the cause is generally unknown. The proposed research project will look at a potential new therapy for IC/PBS by testing it on a rat model which has been conditioned to develop IC like symptoms. The proposed mechanism of the agent being tested is that is prevents breakdown of Prostaglandin E2, which is needed to help with tissue regeneration. If successful, this new therapy could be translated to clinical trials and potentially bring relief to IC patients.

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Simpa Salami, MD, MPH

Simpa Salami, MD, MPH

Project Title: "Molecular Profiling of Serial Targeted Biopsy Tissue to Predict Progression of Low to High Grade Prostate Cancer in Men on Active Surveillance"

Institution: University of Michigan

Mentor: Ganesh Palapattu, MD; Scott Tomlins, MD, PhD and Leonard Marks, MD

Sponsor: Society for Urologic Oncology Research Scholar Fund for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence

Dr. Salami’s research project is focused on evaluating genetic abnormalities that can be used to determine if low grade prostate cancer can progress to high grade disease during surveillance. Along with other investigators, he will also evaluate if targeted prostate biopsy using a combination of MRI and ultrasound can accurately be used to monitor men on active surveillance for prostate cancer. Overall, the results from this project will empower prostate cancer patients and physicians when contemplating how best to manage low grade prostate cancer.

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Arjun Sivaraman, MBBS, MCH

Arjun Sivaraman, MBBS, MCH

Project Title: "Functional outcomes and thermal exposure of the vital structures during MR-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound ablation of prostate cancer"

Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Mentor: Oguz Akin, MD; Behfar Ehdale, MD, MPH and Elena Kaye, PhD

Sponsor: Indian American Urological Association/Sakti Das, MD Research Scholar Fund

Prostate Cancer (PCa) is a major health care problem affecting men. Focal therapy (FT) is a rapidly emerging treatment option that aims at selectively destroying the cancerous tissue while preserving the remaining normal prostate and is considered as a middle ground treatment option between the conventional ‘Active Surveillance’ and ‘Radical treatment’ for organ confined PCa. FT offers the unique opportunity to achieve acceptable cancer control with better preservation of genitourinary functions. High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a non-invasive, heat based energy source currently available for FT with extensive research experience. HIFU ablation has demonstrated encouraging results in effectively killing the cancer cells but its effect on the vital structures close to prostate (urinary sphincter, nerves, urethra etc.,) that can affect the genitourinary functions is still unknown. In this study, we aim to use Magnetic Resonance (MR) thermography technique to identify and quantify the heat changes that takes place in these vital structures during HIFU ablation and evaluate its effect on the post-operative genitourinary functions like urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction etc. The results of this study can help in individualized treatment planning for a safe HIFU ablation and be used for predicting functional outcomes (recovery of function or risk of complications).

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Paul Toren, MD

Paul Toren, MD

Project Title: "Do sex steroid serum levels following ADT initiation predict the development of castrate resistant prostate cancer?"

Institution: Laval University

Mentor: Yves Fradet, MD

Sponsor: AUA Northeastern Section Research Scholar Fund II

Prostate cancer is uniquely driven by testosterone and standard treatment for advanced disease consists of castration to drastically lower the blood testosterone levels available to the prostate cancer. Testosterone is synthesized by the body from precursor sex hormones. Using stored blood samples from a clinical trial, this study aims to study the potential long-term effect of circulating levels of precursor sex hormones which are present during castration. Knowledge of these biological effects may help us better understand how to identify patients at higher risk of developing castration resistant cancer and to better select appropriate treatments.

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Jason Van Batavia, MD

Jason Van Batavia, MD

Project Title: "Using transgenic murine models and optogenetic activation of Barrington's nucleus to reverse and recapitulate the social stress induced voiding phenotype"

Institution: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The Joseph Stokes Jr Research Institute

Mentor: Stephen Zderic, MD and Rita Valentino, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Mid-Atlantic Section William D. Steers, MD Research Scholar Fund

Pediatric urologists see a large number of children with bladder problems who may be suffering from infections or are incontinent of urine. This creates problems at home and school and is damaging to the child’s self-esteem. Because the brain and bladder communicate by the nervous system in order to function normally, we are studying these nerve circuits using mouse models. If we can better understand in mouse models why the brain-bladder connection is not working, we can design better ways to treat this condition that frustrates children and their parents.

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Jeffrey White, MD, PhD

Jeffrey White, MD, PhD

Project Title: "RBFOX2 copy number variants affect splicing of FGFR2 and cause hypospadias"

Institution: Baylor College of Medicine

Mentor: Dolores Lamb, PhD; Chester Koh, MD and David Roth, MD

Sponsor: Society for Pediatric Urology/Sushil Lacy, MD Research Scholar Fund

Pediatric urologists see a large number of children with bladder problems who may be suffering from infections or are incontinent of urine. This creates problems at home and school and is damaging to the child’s self-esteem. Because the brain and bladder communicate by the nervous system in order to function normally, we are studying these nerve circuits using mouse models. If we can better understand in mouse models why the brain-bladder connection is not working, we can design better ways to treat this condition that frustrates children and their parents.

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2016 – 2018 RESEARCH SCHOLARS

Christina Ching, MD

Christina Ching, MD

Project Title: "Role of Reg3 and HIP/PAP on urothelial antimicrobial activity and barrier function against uropathogens"

Institution: The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Mentor: Kirk McHugh, PhD and Michael Becknell, MD

Sponsor: AUA North Central Section Research Scholar Fund I

Childhood urinary tract infections are common and can significantly impact the future health of a child’s urinary tract. The urinary tract possesses a highly specialized lining called the urothelium, which is important in defending the urinary tract against infection and preventing long-term injury of the underlying tissue. Dr. Ching’s research focuses on how the urothelium participates in fighting infection via a specific protein called Reg3γ or HIP/PAP. In particular, her research is investigating how Reg3γ or HIP/PAP could be used to treat various types of infection of the urinary tract and the impact it has on regeneration of the urothelium and its barrier function to outside pathogens.

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Paul Dominguez Gutierrez, PhD

Paul Dominguez Gutierrez, PhD

Project Title: "Characterization of the Immune Response within Renal Papillary Tips and Peripheral Blood Monocytes of Calcium Oxalate Stone Formers"

Institution: Department of Urology, University of Florida

Mentor: Saeed Khan, PhD and Benjamin Canales, MD, MPH

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund III

The immune system is involved with keeping us healthy. It fights of colds and other infections, but it does so much more. It protects us from cancer and even foreign objects- a splinter in the finger is pushed out by the swelling cause by immune response to the splinter. Our group believes that the immune system is involved in keeping our kidneys free of stones by recognizing and destroying the stone in its infancy- the seed. When the immune system fails to destroy the seed, it develops into a kidney stone. We are studying how this seed is recognized and destroyed to eventually develop a therapy to help the immune system destroy the seed before it can become a kidney stone.

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Ryan Flannigan, MD

Ryan Flannigan, MD

Project Title: "Evaluation of Role of miRNA202-5p in Regulation of Spermatogenesis Using Lecithin:Retinol Acyltransferase (LRAT) Knockout Model"

Institution: Weill Cornell Medical College

Mentor: Darius Paduch, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA New York Section Research Scholar Fund

Infertility commonly affects 15% of the population worldwide. In half of these cases men are affected, but the etiology remains unknown in 60-75%. In the most severe form of male factor infertility, azoospermia, no sperm are found in the ejaculate. A recent study has identified that microRNA202-5p is significantly down regulated among sertoli cells in these men. The present study will utilize a sertoli cell-only animal model, Lethicin: Retinol Acyltransferase (LRAT) mouse, to evaluate if miRNA202-5p is the cause or result of absent germ cells, and subsequently evaluate mRNA targets of miRNA202-5p. We will then determine if intratesticular injection of a miRNA202-5p inhibitor will suppress spermatogenesis in a normal animal model. This research will aim to uncover important mechanisms of male infertility and provide new potential therapeutic options for infertile men.

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Eugene Lee, MD

Eugene Lee, MD

Project Title: "A carbohydrate restricted diet in patients with diabetes and non-muscle invasive bladder cancer"

Institution: University of Kansas Medical Center

Mentor: Shrikant Anant, PhD and Jeffrey Holzbeierlein, MD

Sponsor: AUA South Central Section Research Scholar Fund I

Patients with diabetes and superficial bladder cancer are at exceptionally high risk of recurrence. Bladder cancer is a tumor type that relies heavily on sugar to grow and multiply making diabetic patients a fertile environment. The goal of our study is to assess whether putting patients with diabetes and bladder cancer on a carbohydrate restricted diet will decrease blood and urine sugar levels translating to less risk of bladder tumor recurrence. At the same time, we will study whether the activity of pyruvate kinase M2, a marker of increased sugar consumption and aggressive cancer, can be changed with reducing sugar availability.

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Suk Hyung Lee, PhD

Suk Hyung Lee, PhD

Project Title: "Culture of Patient-derived Bladder Cancer Organoids"

Institution: Columbia University Medical Center

Mentor: Michael Shen, PhD

Sponsor: Society for Urologic Oncology Research Scholar Fund II

Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States. Recent studies have shown that there is a remarkable variety of types of bladder cancer, suggesting that successful treatments will need to be developed for each individual type. To date, however, there are limited options for bladder cancer treatment, and it has been difficult to tailor therapy for individual patients and their specific bladder cancer types. In this application, I propose to use a new technique to grow tumor samples derived from the bladder tumors of individual patients. These tumor samples can be grown in the laboratory to form living organoids, which mimic key features of the tumors from which they are grown. These organoids will be used for analyses to determine their specific bladder cancer subtype and tested to determine which drugs might represent effective treatments. Thus, the long-term objective of this study is to provide the basis for developing personalized treatments for patients with bladder cancer.

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Scott Manson, PhD

Scott Manson, PhD

Project Title: "The Development of Peptide-based Therapies for Calcium Oxalate Stone Disease"

Institution: Washington University

Mentor: Paul Austin, MD

Sponsor: Endourological Society Research Scholar Fund

Kidney stone disease is a prevalent condition (~12% of the population) with significant adverse consequences, few effective therapeutic options, and a high likelihood for recurrence. The majority of kidney stones result from the formation of calcium oxalate crystals in the urine that subsequently adhere to proteins on the surface of renal epithelial cells, affording them time to grow into debilitating stones that impair kidney function. The goal of this project is to identify the precise biochemical mechanisms that mediate binding of calcium oxalate crystals to renal epithelial cells during stone formation. The proposed research is likely to have considerable implications for the treatment of stone disease by identifying a specific therapeutic target for the development of peptide-based therapies to inhibit stone formation/recurrence in at-risk individuals, limit stone growth in affected individuals, and prevent the deleterious, long-term effects of stone disease.

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Laura Mike, PhD

Laura Mike, PhD

Project Title: "Therapeutic strategies targeting uropathogenic Escherichia coli iron acquisition"

Institution: University of Michigan

Mentor: Harry Mobley, PhD

Sponsor: Dornier MedTech

Over 4 million women in the U.S. suffer from continual urinary tract infections (UTIs) annually. The long-term antibiotic regimens required to control UTIs has caused a rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria and highlights the need for novel therapeutic strategies. Overwhelming evidence indicates that preventing bacteria from acquiring the important nutrient metal, iron, may prevent or inhibit UTIs. The research outlined here focuses on identifying new strategies for blocking bacterial iron acquisition using pharmaceutical- and vaccine-based approaches.

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Ranjith Ramasamy, MD

Ranjith Ramasamy, MD

Project Title: "Leydig Stem Cell Autograft for Treatment of Hypogonadism in Klinefelter Syndrome"

Institution: University of Miami

Mentor: Joshua Hare, MD and Dipen Parekh, MD

Sponsor: Sexual Medicine Society of North America

Klinefelter Syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in men. Characterized with an extra X chromosome, men with Klinefelter syndrome have testicular failure leading to infertility and low testosterone. Low testosterone can lead to adverse effects such as decreased bone density, delayed puberty, gynecomastia and poor sexual function. The current standard of care for men with Klinefelter syndrome and low testosterone is lifelong testosterone therapy. Testosterone therapy can lead to impaired fertility and assisted reproduction outcomes in men with Klinefelter syndrome. The project proposes developing a novel treatment modality: Leydig stem cell autograft for treatment of low testosterone. The stem cells can increase testosterone without affecting fertility outcomes. We also will identify the mechanism for low testosterone so novel therapeutic targets for increasing testosterone can be identified.

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Mirja Rotinen, PhD

Mirja Rotinen, PhD

Project Title: "Onecut2: A Novel Master Regulator Transcription Factor Predicted to be Highly Active in Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer"

Institution: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Mentor: Michael Freeman, PhD

Sponsor: Chesapeake Urology Associates Research Scholar Fund

When prostate cancer progresses to resistance to current therapeutic options, the disease inevitably becomes fatal to patients. We have identified a novel protein, Onecut2 that is likely to be a master regulator of this phase of the disease. In this project I will try to understand how this protein operates. Identification of prostate tumors where Onecut2 activity is high may provide new means of patient stratification and novel therapeutic options.

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Brian Shuch, MD

Brian Shuch, MD

Project Title: "Mitochondrial Alterations and the Metabolic Basis of Renal Oncocytoma"

Institution: Yale School of Medicine

Mentor: Gerald Shadel, PhD

Sponsor: AUA New England Section Research Scholar Fund

In this research proposal we hope to address the difficulty identifying the most commonly resected benign tumor, the renal oncocytoma. Surgical removal of benign renal tumors accounts for significant morbidity, provides limited benefit, and produces high cost to society (an estimated national bill of $200 million/year). Complex I mutations with high-level heteroplasmy are frequently seen in renal oncocytomas. Using a renal oncocytoma cell line and mitochondrial cybrids, we will characterize the metabolic alterations associated with deficiencies in this part of the electron transport chain. An understanding of the metabolic basis of renal oncocytoma may lead to future research that could result in preoperative identification and avoidance of surgery.

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Hosu Sin, PhD

Hosu Sin, PhD

Project Title: "Elucidating fundamental regulators of male meiosis"

Institution: Stanford Univsersity, School of Medicine

Mentor: Margaret Fuller, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Western Section Research Scholar Fund II

In sexually reproducing eukaryotes, meiosis is essential to convert a diploid cell to haploid gametes. Disruptions of this process result in a wide range of human diseases such as male infertility, spontaneous miscarriage, and birth defects including aneuploidy disorders. I am particularly interested in the mechanism underlying male germ cell development, which is an essential process to produce haploid gametes. In this proposal, I seek to discover key regulators that govern meiotic progression and differentiation of male gametes, which will provide basic knowledge and new insight to understand these diseases.

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Geoff Sonn, MD

Geoff Sonn, MD

Project Title: "Metabolic Profiling of Aggressive Prostate Cancer Using Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometric Imaging"

Institution: Stanford University

Mentor: Richard Zare, PhD and James Brooks, MD

Sponsor: Society for Urologic Oncology Research Scholar Fund I

Better tools are urgently needed to differentiate indolent from aggressive prostate cancer to enable personalized decision making about treatment. A new technique, called desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), has been developed that can rapidly measure hundreds of molecules in fresh tissue specimens. This method can rapidly and accurately diagnose cancer in other tumor types but its utility has not been tested in prostate cancer. Dr. Sonn’s early results show the ability to identify aggressive human prostate cancer using DESI-MSI and he now proposes to build upon these results to develop DESI-MSI as a new tool to assess prostate cancer aggressiveness.

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Adriana Vidal, PhD

Adriana Vidal, PhD

Project Title: "Racial Differences in Systemic and Prostatic Inflammation"

Institution: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Mentor: Stephen Freedland, MD

Sponsor: Robert J. Krane, MD Research Scholar Fund

It is estimated, that 1 in every 6 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and African American men have the highest incidence and mortality rates in the world. Recent evidence suggests that both systemic and prostatic inflammation may play a role in prostate carcinogenesis. However, most studies evaluating the association between prostate cancer risk and inflammation have been performed in Caucasian men. Given that an elevated PSA level in a healthy man is often the first sign of prostate cancer and higher levels correlate with greater risk, these data suggest systemic inflammatory markers may be linked with prostate cancer risk. In this proposal, I will expand these early observations using a multiethnic cohort, which includes ~45% African American men, to test the association between systemic inflammatory markers and prostate cancer risk and progression. This will fill a major gap in our knowledge given no studies to date have examined the association between markers of systemic inflammation and prostate cancer in men of African origin.

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Kyle Wood, MD

Kyle Wood, MD

Project Title: "Glyoxal: A Novel Source of Endogenous Oxalate Synthesis and Its Clinical Contribution to Kidney Stones"

Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mentor: Dean Assimos, MD and Ross Holmes, PhD

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

My research project is looking at a novel pathway in oxalate formation. Oxalate is a component of the most common type of kidney stone. Elucidating this pathway may lead to novel treatment options for individuals afflicted with kidney stone disease.

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2014 – 2016 Research Scholars

Irina Debnath, PhD
Irina Debnath, PhD

Project Title: "Identification and Characterization of the MrpJ Virulence Gene Network in Uropathogenic Proteus mirabilis"

Institution: New York University School of Medicine

Mentor: Melanie Pearson, PhD

Sponsor: AUA New York Section Research Scholar Fund

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Sonia Fargue, MD, PhD

Sonia Fargue, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Metabolism Associated with Hyperoxaluria and Calcium Oxalate Stone Disease"

Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mentor: Ross Holmes, PhD and Dean Assimos, MD

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund

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Chunming Guo, PhD

Chunming Guo, PhD

Project Title: "A Mouse Model for Human Urinary Incontinence"

Institution: Children's Hospital Boston

Mentor: Sean Xue Li, PhD

Sponsor: AUA New England Section Research Scholar Fund

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Andrew Hau, PhD

Andrew Hau, PhD

Project Title: "uPAR and mTORC2: Coupled Targets for Therapeutics Development in Bladder Cancer"

Institution: University of California San Diego

Mentor: Donna Hansel, MD, PhD

Sponsor: Frank and Marion Hinman Urology Research Fund

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Shu Lin, PhD

Shu Lin, PhD

Project Title: "Determining the Role of Epithelial-mesenchymal Transition in Prostate Cancer and Stem Cells During Castration-resistant Cancer Progression"

Institution: University of California Los Angeles

Mentor: Robert Reiter, MD

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

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Tomasz Owczarek, PhD

Tomasz Owczarek, PhD

Project Title: "Cell of Origin of Bladder Cancer"

Institution: Columbia University Medical Center

Mentor: Cory Abate-Shen, PhD

Sponsor: Dornier MedTech

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Sungyong You, PhD

Sungyong You, PhD

Project Title: "An Epigenomic Pathway From Cholesterol to Intracrine Androgen"

Institution: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Mentor: Michael Freeman, PhD and Jayoung Kim, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Western Section Research Scholar Fund

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Sungyong You, PhD

Bernadette Zwaans, PhD

Project Title: "Exploring the Molecular Mechanism of Inflammatory Response in a New Rat Model of Radiation Cystitis"

Institution: Beaumont Health System

Mentor: Michael Chancellor, MD

Sponsor: AUA North Central Section Research Scholar Fund

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2015 – 2016 Research Scholars

Aditya Bagrodia, MD

Aditya Bagrodia, MD

Project Title: "The Prognostic and Therapeutic Value of Genomic Alterations and PI3K/AKT/mTOR Aberrations in Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma"

Institution: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Mentor: David B. Solit, MD and Jonathan A. Coleman, MD

Sponsor: Society for Urologic Oncology Research Scholar Fund I

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Zarine Balsara, MD, PhD

Zarine Balsara, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Function of the PRC2/Ezh2-dependent Epigenetic Program in Bladder Regeneration and Repair"

Institution: Boston Children's Hospital

Mentor: Rosalyn M. Adam, PhD and Sean X. Li, PhD

Sponsor: Urology Care Foundation

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Michael Johnson, MD

Michael Johnson, MD

Project Title: "Integrated Computational and Biological Identification of Personalized Tumor-specific Neoantigens in Renal Cell Carcinoma"

Institution: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Mentor: Mohamad E. Allaf, MD and Charles G. Drake, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Mid-Atlantic Section William D. Steers, MD Research Scholar Fund

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Austin Kirschner, MD, PhD

Austin Kirschner, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Treatment of Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer by PIM1 Kinase Inhibition Enhances Androgen Deprivation Therapy and Docetaxel Chemotherapy"

Institution: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Mentor: Robert J. Matusik, PhD, Sarki A. Abdulkadir, MD, PhD, and Michael L. Freeman, PhD

Sponsor: Center for Prostate Disease Research

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Shihong Ma, PhD

Shihong Ma, PhD

Project Title: "Development of QevOS, a Novel Quantitative Model System for Prostate Cancer Bone Metastasis"

Institution: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Mentor: Ganesh Raj, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA South Central Section Research Scholar Fund I

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Akanksha Mehta, MD

Akanksha Mehta, MD

Project Title: "The Impact of Male Factor Infertility on the Utilization and Outcomes of Assisted Reproductive Technology"

Institution: Emory University School of Medicine

Mentor: Jessica B. Spencer, MD, Martin G. Sanda, MD and Michael Goodman, MD, MPH

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund III

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2015 Joseph Segura, MD Scholarship in Endourology and Stone Management

Yasser Noureldin, MD, PhD

Yasser Noureldin, MD, PhD

Project Title: "Endourologic Technical Skills Transfer from the Virtual Reality Environment to the Operating Room"

Institution: McGill University Health Centre

Mentor: Sero Andonian, MD

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

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Anobel Odisho, MD, MPH

Anobel Odisho, MD, MPH

Project Title: "The Impact of Clinical and Demographic Factors on Risk-Adjusted Outcomes for Urologic Cancer Surgery"

Institution: University of Washington

Mentor: John L. Gore, MD

Sponsor: Society for Urologic Oncology Research Scholar Fund II

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George Schade, MD

George Schade, MD

Project Title: "Boiling Histotripsy of the Kidney: A Novel Ultrasound Based Treatment for Renal Cell Carcinoma"

Institution: University of Washington

Mentor: Michael R. Bailey, PhD and Daniel W. Lin, MD

Sponsor: AUA Western Section Research Scholar Fund II

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2015 – 2017 Research Scholars

Zheng Cao, PhD

Zheng Cao, PhD

Project Title: "Targeting the Prostate Tumor Microenvironment by a Novel Quinazoline Agent"

Institution: University of Kentucky Medical Center

Mentor: Natasha Kyprianou, PhD

Sponsor: Genentech

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Abraham Hakimi, MD

Abraham Hakimi, MD

Project Title: "Interrogation of the Sorbitol Pathway in VHL-Independent HIF driven Renal Cell Carcinomas"

Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Mentor: James J. Hsieh, MD, PhD

Sponsor: Kidney Cancer Association

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Petra Popovics, PhD

Petra Popovics, PhD

Project Title: "Use of Receptors for Growth Hormone-releasing Hormone (GHRH) and Luteinizing Hormone-releasing Hormone (LHRH) Receptors as Potential Therapeutic Targets to Reduce Inflammation and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia"

Institution: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Mentor: Andrew V. Schally, PhD and Ferenc Rick, MD, PhD

Sponsor: AUA Southeastern Section Research Scholar Fund II

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Vijay Samineni, PhD

Vijay Samineni, PhD

Project Title: "Optogenetic Dissection of Cell Type-specific Roles in Bladder Pain"

Institution: Washington University – St. Louis

Mentor: Robert W. Gereau, PhD

Sponsor: Indian American Urological Association/Kailash Kedia, MD Research Scholar Fund

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