The Kenneth Rainin Foundation Announces $1,000,000 in Grants Awarded for Innovative IBD Research

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kenneth Rainin Foundation (KRF) announced today the recipients of its 2012 Innovator Awards and its 2012 Breakthrough Awards for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research. Innovator Award recipients will each receive a $100,000 grant to support their respective innovative research projects. Breakthrough Awards are extended to existing KRF Innovator Award recipients, whose projects have demonstrated significant promise of yielding transformative discoveries and major new insights into the causes and cures of IBD.

The 2012 Innovator Awards Program recipients are:

  • David Boone, Ph.D., University of Chicago, IL, for his research project entitled, "Gastric control of intestinal function."
  • Gautam Dantas, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, for his research project entitled, "Synthetic engineering of enhanced fitness and adhesion properties in probiotics for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)."
  • Richard M. Maizels, Ph.D., Edinburgh University, UK, for his project entitled, "Potential of parasite products to suppress IBD."
  • Samuel L. Miller, M.D., University of Washington, Seattle, WA, for his project entitled, "Development of a Fecal Microbiota Transplant Mouse Model for Ulcerative Colitis to Identify Pro-and Anti-inflammatory Bacteria."

The 2012 Breakthrough Awards recipients are:

  • Andrew S. Neish, M.D., Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, and Julie A. Champion, Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, for their research project entitled "Bioengineering Bacterially Derived Immunomodulants: A Novel Therapeutic Approach to IBD". This project will receive additional funding for a one-year period.
  • Gwendalyn Randolph, Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis, MO, for her project entitled "Interface between adispose antigen-presenting cells, lympahtics, and the expansion of adispose tissue in inflammatory intestinal disease". This project will receive additional funding for a two-year period.
  • Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck M.D., Ph.D., and Herbert W. Virgin, IV, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO, for their project entitled "Identification of microbial triggers of colitis in genetically relevant, transmissible mouse model". This project will receive additional funding for a two-year period.

About the Innovator Awards Program for IBD Research
The goal of the Innovator Awards Program is to reach out to all scientific disciplines from any non-profit research institution worldwide as a means to attract innovative researchers and encourage integrative cooperation across all disciplines in an effort to accomplish the Foundation's mission of no one suffering from IBD. 

With the Innovator Awards Program now in its third year of funding, Averil Ma, Chair of the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board, said, "We are delighted with the increasingly high quality of applications this year and trust this trend will continue, as researchers become more familiar with the Innovator Award's criteria." 

The Program's key components for funding consideration include innovation, collaboration, scientific merit and a high potential for success as well as funding projects that, due to their innovative nature, may not be eligible for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other more traditional sources. 

Details of the Foundation's 2013 Innovator Awards Program will be announced in the fall of 2012. Please visit our website for updates.

About the Breakthrough Awards Program for IBD Research
The goal of the Breakthrough Awards Program is to provide longer term support to existing KRF-funded Innovator Award recipients that have demonstrated significant "proof of principle" research progress validating their original innovative hypotheses.  KRF Innovator Awardees are evaluated for potential Breakthrough Awards at the end of their initial year of funding at the KRF's Annual SAB meeting.

About Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. The main forms of IBD are Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include debilitating pain, bleeding and diarrhea. The causes of IBD are unknown but may include immune factors caused by genetic susceptibility as well as environmental factors including intestinal microbes.  Current therapeutic options for patients are largely limited to non-specific anti-inflammatory agents, and anti-TNF agents. Surgical removal of the colon is the only cure for colitis at this time. There is currently no cure for Crohn's Disease. Approximately five million people worldwide suffer from some form of IBD.

About the Foundation
The Kenneth Rainin Foundation ( is a private family foundation that is dedicated to enhancing quality of life by promoting equitable access to a baseline of literacy, championing and sustaining the arts, and supporting research that will lead to relief for those with chronic disease. The Foundation focuses our efforts on the San Francisco Bay Area and specific medical issues. We utilize our networks, resources, and commitment to socially responsible practices to support innovation, collaboration and connection in the service of inspiring world-changing work.

The Scientific Advisory Board members are Averil Ma, M.D., Chair of the SAB and Kenneth Rainin Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Director, Colitis and Crohn's Disease Center, UCSF; Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine; Dan Littman, M.D., Ph.D., Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Professor of Molecular Immunology and Professor of Pathology and Microbiology, Skirball Institute Program of Molecular Pathogenesis, NYU Langone Medical Center; and Claudio Fiocchi, M.D., The Clifford and Jane Anthony Chair for Digestive Disease Research and Education, Department of Pathobiology, Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

SOURCE The Kenneth Rainin Foundation