Ramkumar T. Annamalai, assistant professor in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), has been named a Project Lead Investigator by the National Institutes of Health and Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation (CPRI) at the University of Kentucky on an NIH Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant (COBRE). Through a competitive selection process, Annamalai’s project titled “Immunomodulatory Therapy for Bone Regeneration" has been awarded approximately $809,586 for up to three years.
For this work, Annamalai will work under the mentorship of leading experts at the CPRI to elucidate the influence of biophysical cues on macrophage function and develop an immunomodulatory platform to reduce the burden of bone diseases in patients. Annamalai’s research program is broadly focused on elucidating the mechanobiology of immune cells and immunomodulatory cells and developing engineered strategies to harness the body’s natural healing responses.
As an early-stage project lead investigator, Annamalai will be provided with rich mentoring from basic and clinical mentors, including Drs. Jon Thorson, Daniel Pack, Val Adams, Change-Guo Zhan, and Vince Venditto. Annamalai’s team will fulfill the CPRI mission to facilitate translational chemical biology research to advance treatments and strategies to address significant health challenges.
“This award reflects the competitiveness of the research program Dr. Annamalai is building at UK, and the mentoring and collaboration will surely help accelerate his pursuit of clinical-relevant solutions to solve healthcare problems,” said Guigen Zhang, chair of the BME Department. “This award is the second of such awards awarded to the BME junior faculty in the past year. It is a confirmation that the BME department is attracting and recruiting high-caliber faculty with great potential to help elevate engineering-assisted medical innovation at UK and beyond.”
Congratulations to Dr. Annamalai!
This research is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM130456. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Photos: (Top) Annamalai research team of graduate students. (Bottom Left) Inflammatory macrophages stained for cytoskeleton and nucleus. (Bottom Right) Micro-computed tomography image of a mouse femur fractured and stabilized using a titanium nail.