University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Major UCSF Research Awards Focus on Leveraging Technology to Improve Health

Catalyst Awards Program a Model for Other Leading Universities

By John Daigre | | June 27, 2013

Major UCSF Research Awards Focus on Leveraging Technology to Improve Health

Catalyst Awards advisors Stephanie Zeppa, JD, of SNR Denton LLP, left, and Ida Sim, MD, PhD, professor in the UCSF

Division of General Internal Medicine, right, speak with finalist Katherine Possin, PhD, an assistant professor

of neurology, during the awards presentations on June 12.

Research that could revolutionize CT (computed tomography) scans – allowing better informed clinical decision-making and reducing the likelihood that patients undergo multiple scans – has been named the top winner of the Spring 2013 Catalyst Awards, a major awards program at UC San Francisco.

The innovation, using a novel contrasting agent to significantly improve CT imaging, was developed by Benjamin Yeh, MD, a professor in residence, and Yanjun Fu, PhD, an assistant researcher, both in the UCSF School of Medicine.

"With nearly 70 million CT scans performed in the U.S. each year, the implications are very significant,” says June Lee, MD, FAACP, director of the Early Translational Research program at UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), which administers the Catalyst Awards. “Most important, and essential to the Catalyst Awards, is the potential for projects like this to improve patient health."

Yeh and Fu were among 16 Catalyst Awards finalists who presented their work to a closed-door gathering of academic and industry reviewers on June 12 at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus. Several other investigators working in the four Catalyst Award categories – therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health – were also awarded support to advance their research.

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Catalyst Awards Spring 2013 Cycle Winners

  • Benjamin Yeh, MD, Professor: "Dual Energy CT Enteric Contrast Agent" (Therapeutics)
  • Thea Tlsty, PhD, Professor: "Endogenous Pluripotent Somatic Cells from Adult Human Tissue with Potential for Regenerative Medicine: Applications in Corneal Transplantation" (Therapeutics)
  • Pierre Gourraud, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor: "Development of MS Bioscreen at UCSF Clinics" (Digital Health)
  • Katherine Possin, PhD, Assistant Professor: "The UCSF Tab-CAT: A Novel Table-based Cognitive Assessment Tool for Dementia" (Digital Health)
  • Danielle Schlosser, PhD, Assistant Professor: "Encouraging Health Promoting Behaviors Using a Novel Personalized Real-time Motivational Enhancement Mobile Application" (Digital Health)
  • Marshall Stoller, MD, Professor, and Herman Bagga, MD, Resident Physician: "Bladder Volume Sensing Device" (Devices)
  • Tejal Desai, PhD, Professor: "TiO2 Nanotubular Coatings to Prevent Cardiac Fibrosis at Electrode/Myocardial Interface of CRM devices" (Devices)
  • Daphne Haas-Kogan, MD, Professor: "Determinants of Response and Resistance in Pediatric Low-grade Glioma" (Diagnostics)
  • Kimberly Kirkwood, MD, Professor-in-Residence: "Early Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer Using a Non-Invasive Imaging Tool" (Diagnostics)