Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Xinghua 'Mindy' Shi

Xinghua "Mindy" Shi, an assistant professor in the Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics, is the latest beneficiary of funding from the SPRINT Program (São Paulo Researchers in International Collaboration).

Shi and colleagues in Brazil have received a $20,000 research grant to develop drugs with “anti-leukemia activity.” In partnership with Professor Paulo Arruda, Department of Genetics at State University of Campinas, and Jose Andres Yunes, principal investigator at Centro Infantil Boldrini, the UNC Charlotte researcher is working on the proposal “An Integrative Analysis of Protein Kinases in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.”

The researchers bring together complementary expertise in bioinformatics, genetics, protein science and cancer biology.    

“This project will integrate bioinformatics and experimentation toward the goal of development of drugs with anti-leukemia activity,” explained Shi. “Such integration has been demonstrated as a powerful tool to advance our understanding of human health and diseases. We expect the success of this project will lead us to enhance alternative treatment of leukemia and other types of cancer.”

A joint effort of UNC Charlotte’s Graduate School and the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the SPRINT Program has as its overarching goal to initiate research projects that evolve into larger efforts that attract funding from FAPESP and the U.S. federal government. SPRINT, FAPESP and UNC Charlotte’s Graduate School provide seed funding for their respective teams.

UNC Charlotte researchers interested in applying for the SPRINT program should email Daniel Janies, Belk Distinguished Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics, at djanies@uncc.edu. He is the campus liaison to FAPESP and other research stakeholders in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

“The level of access to research funding in São Paulo has allowed their scientists to focus on important problems rather than being overwhelmed with finding financial resources for research,” said Janies. “By taking the lead to organize these funding programs, UNC Charlotte’s Graduate School is opening doors for much broader collaborations between our faculty and their counterparts in the State of São Paulo.”

For successful proposals, UNC Charlotte will fund the activities of Charlotte-based researchers and FAPESP will fund the activities of São Paulo-based researchers.  Submissions are being accepted from all fields of science, technology, education and mathematics; the deadline for submissions is Monday, Oct. 26.