UMMS Researchers Earn FAPESP Grant for Brazil Collaboration

Since the 2012 U-M presidential delegation visit to Brazil, signed collaboration agreements with the University of São Paulo (USP) Medical School and the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) has greatly increased collaboration between U-M researchers and researchers throughout higher education and research institutions in Brazil. FAPESP is one of the main funding agencies in Brazil and one of the early initiatives of the UM-Brazil partnerships was to establish small UM-FAPESP grant competitions that teamed researchers from both institutions in the disciplines of medicine, the health sciences, humanities, social sciences, the arts, natural resources, and the environment. Awards made through these competitions aim to enable the researchers to learn about one another¹s research in areas of common interest and thereafter to develop funding proposals for larger, more ambitious and ongoing collaborative projects.

Three UMMS faculty earned FAPESP awards in the inaugural round of funding in 2013, and now another UMMS project has been awarded through the 2016 FAPESP SPRINT (São Paulo Researchers in International Collaboration) Grants Program. The SPRINT program is designed to encourage and promote the advancement of scientific research between researchers affiliated with the State of São Paulo and their international research partners.  It provides travel-related funding to support the mobility of these research teams.

2016 UMMS Award Recipients and Brazil Partners

Carol F. Elias, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, UMMS
Thomas L. Saunders, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UMMS

Lucila L.K. Elias, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Ribeirao Preto Medical School University of São Paulo (USP)
Marcio A. Torsoni, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Applied Sciences, University of Campinas (UNICAMP)

Development of mouse models using CRISPR-Cas9 technology

This two-year planning grant brings together researchers from the University of São Paulo, the University of Campinas, and the University of Michigan Medical School to build upon methods and genetic approaches of current FAPESP projects. The project will be divided in three phases over two years. In the first phase (year 1) two UMMS investigators will travel to Brazil to define a strategic plan to facilitate the use and development of CRISPR-Cas9 technology for the production of genetically modified mice to model metabolic dysfunction in humans. In the second phase (part of years 1 and 2), investigators from USP and UNICAMP will spend 2-4 weeks at the UMHS for training in the Department of Molecular and Integrative physiology and the Transgenic Mouse Model Core under supervision of Dr. Carol Elias and Dr. Saunders. In the third phase (end of year 2), investigators from UMHS will travel to Brazil to supervise and troubleshoot the implementation of these technologies. One Symposium or Workshop will be organized also in the second year with the participation of all investigators opened to the scientific community. Data and mouse models produced during this project will be used to prepare new collaborative applications for funding to FAPESP and US agencies.

Two other U-M faculty, Drs. Vanessa Sih and Steven Thomas Cundiff (both from the Physics Department), were among the 2016 award recipients, which also included scientists from Emory University and the University of Miami in the United States, as well as from universities in Australia and the United Kingdom.

You may view all awarded project recipients here.