CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program awards grants for 2022

2022 CTSI Pilot Project grant recipients from the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

2022 CTSI Pilot Project grant recipients from the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (L-R): Raymond Cha, PharmD, Kari Mergenhagen, PharmD, Gene Morse, PharmD, Nicholas Smith, PharmD, PhD, Brian Tsuji, PharmD

Published January 5, 2022

The University at Buffalo’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has awarded 13 new grants to support innovative translational research projects in Western New York, two of which support faculty in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


The CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program provides seed money to investigators to assist them in developing promising new technologies and therapeutics from the conceptual stage to clinical studies.

“The 13 projects awarded pilot studies grants for 2022 address significant translational research questions,” says CTSI Pilot Studies Program Director Brahm Segal, MD, Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “In addition to developing new methods and technologies to impact and improve public health, these innovative projects will foster cross-disciplinary collaborations and mentoring relationships.”

Precision Dosing Strategies for Vancomycin and Aminoglycosides: Improving the Care of Patients in Buffalo Through Therapeutic Individualization

Principal Investigator: Nicholas Smith, PharmD, PhD, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Co-Investigators: Brian Tsuji, PharmD, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Alan Lesse, MD, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Raymond Cha, PharmD, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Kari Mergenhagen, PharmD, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Individualization of a treatment regimen on a patient-by-patient basis using therapeutic drug monitoring is a critical part to treating bacterial infections in the hospital setting. Recent changes to the treatment guidelines for vancomycin have resulted in increased interest to using improved strategies that better account for patient-to-patient differences in achieving maximally precise dosing. Study investigators hypothesize that development of therapeutic drug monitoring that utilizes local Western New York epidemiology of resistant bacteria will provide highly precise PK/PD-driven drug regimens at the individual patient and bacteria level in Western New York.

Using the Social Ecological Model to Facilitate Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Utilization for the Prevention of HIV Infection: Understanding Patient and Provider Perspectives to Reduce Health Inequities

Principal Investigator: Sarahmona Przybyla, PhD, MPH, School of Public Health and Health Professions

Co-Investigators: Gene Morse, PharmD, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Amy Hequembourg, PhD, School of Nursing

With the introduction of long-acting injectables for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV, clinical and translational research related to these new therapeutic agents is needed to maximize the benefits they offer through less frequent dosing schedules for the prevention of HIV transmission. This mixed methods project involves current healthcare providers, future healthcare providers (i.e., medical and pharmacy students), and patients currently taking oral PrEP. This pilot study aims to identify key barriers and facilitators in the PrEP care continuum and provide recommendations for intervention strategies that will accelerate adoption of long-acting injectable PrEP to reduce HIV infection among at-risk and underserved adult populations.

For over 135 years, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has continually been a leader in the education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, renowned for innovation in clinical practice and research. The school is accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education and is the No. 1 ranked school of pharmacy in New York State and No. 14 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.