ACEA’s Travel Award Program

Travel_AwardThe quarterly ACEA Travel Award is open to NovoCyte, xCELLigence, iCELLigence, and RT-CES users who plan to present research using ACEA Biosciences’ technology at scientific conferences. This award will cover travel, registration, meals and housing costs up to $1,500.

Awards are given out quarterly, as shown in the below table. All entries must be received before the stated deadline in order to be considered.


 Funding Period
Submissions Accepted
Beginning On
Submissions Must Be
Received By
Winner Announcement
Winter 2017
2/15/2017
3/15/2017
No later than 3/31/2017
Spring 2017
5/15/2017
6/15/2017
No later than 6/30/2017
Summer 2017
8/15/2017
9/15/2017
No later than 9/30/2017
Fall 2017
11/15/2017
12/15/2018
No later than 12/30/2018

To apply, please download the travel award application form. Send your application to grant@aceabio.com and include the following line in your email subject: “Application: ACEA’s TRAVEL AWARD 2017.”

Winter

Start Date: 1/15/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Deadline: 2/15/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Winner Announced: No later than 3/31/2015

Spring

Start Date: 4/1/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Deadline: 5/15/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Winner Announced: No later than 6/30/2015

Summer

Start Date: 7/1/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Deadline: 8/15/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Winner Announced: No later than 9/30/2015

Fall

Start Date: 10/1/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Deadline: 11/1/2015, 12:00 am, PST
Winner Announced: No later than 12/31/2015

To apply, please download the travel award application form. Send your application to grant@aceabio.com and include the following line in your email subject: “Application: ACEA’s TRAVEL AWARD 2017.”


Fall 2016 Award Winner

We would like to congratulate Dr. Miriam Butler and Dr. Jason Maynes for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Spring 2016.

Dr. Miriam Butler – Prostate Cancer Drug Discovery

Photo of Farah SheikhDr. Butler, a postdoctoral fellow working in the labs of Dr. Paul Rennie and Dr. Artem Cherkasov at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, was selected for her work entitled “Discovery and characterization of small molecules targeting the DNA binding ETS domain of ERG in prostate cancer”, which she will present as a poster at the AACR meeting taking place April 1-5 in Washington DC. Chromosomal rearrangements which cause overexpression of the ERG transcription factor are associated with aggressive disease (including enhanced metastatic potential) and occur in 50% of prostate cancers. Dr. Butler’s work has focused on using rational in silico screening methods to identify drugs capable of disrupting ERG’s DNA binding capabilities. Subsequent analyses of drug candidates demonstrated one molecule, VPC-18005, to directly bind ERG and disrupt its interaction with DNA. VPC-18005 was also shown to inhibit cell invasion and migration (using the xCELLignece RTCA) in ERG-expressing cells, and to reduce metastasis in zebrafish xenograft models.

r. Jason Maynes – Cardiac Diseases and Toxicity

Dr. Maynes, Director of Research, Anesthesia and Pain Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, was selected for his work entitled “Measuring Clinical Cardiac Effect and Toxicity”, which he will present in a podium talk at the QMB Meeting taking place March 16-17 in Shanghai. Using iPSC-derived cardiac tissue in conjunction with cardiomyocyte functional analysis using impedance monitoring by xCELLigence RTCA, the Maynes group studies cardiac disease, cardiac drug effects and cancer chemotherapy-induced cardiac dysfunction. Beyond mechanistic analyses, they conduct high-throughput drug screening to identify agents that attenuate or eliminate these disease phenotypes.


Spring 2016 Award Winner

We would like to congratulate Dr. Slobodan Culina, a post-doctoral researcher at INSERM (France), and Dr. Scott Boitano, a Professor of Physiology at The University of Arizona Health Sciences (USA), for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Spring 2016.

Dr. Slobodan Culina – Autoimmune mechanism of Type 1 diabetes (T1D)

Photo of Farah SheikhDr. Culina is awarded for his presentation entitled “Lack of central tolerance facilitates the emergence of high avidity antigen-experienced ZnT8-reactive CD8+ T cells in type 1 diabetic patients”, which was presented at the FOCIS 2016 Annual Meeting June 22-25, 2016. In this study, Dr. Culina utilized the xCELLigence Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) system to quantify the dynamic killing activities of beta cell antigen specific CD8+ T cells (from Type 1 Diabetic patients and healthy subjects) against adherent pancreatic beta cells.

Dr. Scott Boitano – GPCR drug discovery

Dr. Boitano is awarded for his talk entitled “Drug development for protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2)”, which was presented at the 3rd Conference on Impedance-Based Cellular Assays, August 9 – 12, 2016. PAR2 is associated with a variety of inflammatory conditions, including asthma and pain. Elucidation of PAR2 signaling contributions to disease has been hindered by the lack of potent, efficacious antagonists, and/or biased-ligand signaling agonists and antagonists. The team led by Dr. Boitano utilized the xCELLigence impedance-based cellular assay as the primary, high capacity screening tool for discovering novel PAR2 ligands. Read Dr. Boitano’s latest publication here.


Winter 2016 Award Winner

We would like to congratulate Dr. Farah Sheikh, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at University of California San Diego, for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Winter 2016.

Dr. Farah Sheikh – MODELING CARDIOMYOPATHY IN A DISH

Photo of Farah SheikhDr. Sheikh is awarded for her research using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to model the disease arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC results from defects of the desmosomal cell-cell junction and gives rise to a broad spectrum of symptomatic severities. Sheikh’s work aimed to determine whether iPSCs from ARVC patients could recapitulate phenotypes associated with early stages of the disease. Using ACEA Bioscience’s xCELLigence RTCA Cardio instrument, which monitors cardiomyocyte contraction strength and periodicity in real-time and without the use of labels, Sheikh was able to show strong correlation between the behavior of patient’s hearts and their derivative cardiomyocyte cell lines.  This “disease in a dish” model system now opens the door for Sheikh and colleagues to further explore the molecular mechanisms underlying ARVC, and to probe for therapeutic interventions.  Dr. Sheikh will be presenting her work at the Keystone Symposium, focused on Cardiac Development, Regeneration and Repair, taking place April 3-7 in Snowbird, Utah.


Fall 2015 Award Winner

We would like to congratulate James Murray, a doctoral student under Dr. James Murphy in the Mitochondrial Biology & Radiation Research Centre at the Institute of Technology Sligo (Ireland), for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Fall 2015.

JAMES MURRAY – TANDEM CHEMOTHERAPIES

James Murray croppedJames Murray is awarded for his research on novel anticancer drug hybrids, wherein two chemotherapeutic compounds are covalently tethered to one another to form a single molecule with two different modes of action.  Citing that the 20% oxygen atmosphere that human cells are typically cultured in does not reflect in vivo oxygen concentrations of 3-5%, or the hypoxic environment of tumors (~1%), Murray used the xCELLigence® RTCA DP system to evaluate the effect of drug hybrids on tumor and non-tumor cell lines under hypoxic conditions.  ACEA’s impedance-based label-free xCELLigence RTCA assay was chosen over alternative viability assays such as MTT (which monitors mitochondrial activity) due to the effect that varying oxygen concentration can have on cellular metabolism.  RTCA detected not only drug-induced changes in cell number but also the kinetics of drug action.  Murray commented that “RTCA was invaluable in defining optimal seeding densities and drug concentration range and enabled us to detect instances of cell recovery which may otherwise have been overlooked”.  He will be presenting this work, entitled “Selective anticancer activity of novel endoperoxide-naphthalimide hybrid compounds in vitro, at the Irish Association for Cancer Research Annual meeting (IACR) in Ireland, February 25-26, 2016.  His latest publication can be viewed here: “In vitro oxygen availability modulates the effect of artesunate on HeLa cells” (Anticancer Res. 2014 Dec;34(12):7055-60).


Summer 2015 Award Winners

We would like to congratulate Hannah Yong, a doctoral student in the Perinatal Medicine Pregnancy Research Centre at The Royal Women’s Hospital (Australia), and Canan Schumann (Pharm.D.), a doctoral student in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Oregon State University (USA), for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Summer 2015.

Ms. Hannah Yong – TROPHOBLAST REGULATION

Ms. Yong is awarded for her research on the manner in which the stromal cells of the uterus regulate the function of trophoblast cells during placentation (after embryo implantation).  Yong used the xCELLigence® RTCA DP system to evaluate the effect that media conditioned by decidualised endometrial stromal cells has on fetal extravillous trophoblast cells. Yong demonstrated that reduced expression of the activin receptor ACVR2A in the stromal cells significantly increases adhesion, proliferation, migration and invasion of the trophoblast cells.  She presented this work, entitled “Altered activin receptor ACVR2A expression in pre-eclampsia contributes to abnormal placentation, at the International Federation of Placenta Associations meeting in Brisbane, Australia, September 8-11, 2015.

Dr. Canan Schumann – COMBINING GENE THERAPY AND CHEMOTHERAPY

Dr. Schumann is awarded for his research on combining gene therapy and traditional chemotherapy to increase the efficacy of cancer treatment regimes.   Specifically, Schumann has studied a combination therapy involving siRNA-mediated knockdown of the DJ-1 oncogene along with cisplatin administration.  Using xCELLigence® real-time impedance monitoring he has demonstrated that this combined therapy is more effective at killing cancer cells than either therapy alone.  Schumann recently presented this work at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ annual meeting in Orlando, Florida on October 25-29, 2015.  His poster entitled A Nanomedicine Based Combinatorial Approach for the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer Using Gene and Chemotherapy can be viewed here.


Spring 2015  Award Winners

We would like to congratulate Dr. Filomain Nguemo, a group leader at the University of Cologne Medical School, and Dr. Lu Han, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, for winning th ACEA Research Travel Award for Spring 2015.

Dr. Filomain Nguemo – SAFETY/EFFICACY OF MEDICINAL PLANT EXTRACTS

filomain-nguemoDr. Filomain Nguemo is awarded for his upcoming KEYNOTE lecture entitled “Application of the xCELLigence System and Stem Cells for Medicinal Plant Extract Safety and Efficacy Assessment”, which he will be presenting at the 2nd International Conference of RUAD-EURD on June 9-11, 2015. In his presentation he will discuss the utility of the xCELLigence® RTCA Cardio system in conjunction with stem cells for assessing the effect of medicinal plant extracts. Read his latest publication entitled “The proliferative and chronotropic effects of Brillantaisia nitens Lindau (Acanthaceae) extracts on pluripotent stem cells and their cardiomyocytes derivatives.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Oct 28;156:73-81.


Dr. Lu Han – FAMILIAL HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY

lu-hanDr. Lu Han is awarded for her poster entitled “Study of Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Using Patient Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” which was presented at the Weinstein Cardiovascular Development Conference on April 30 – May 2, 2015. She used the xCELLigence® RTCA Cardio system to analyze the abnormal electrophysiological properties of HCM cardiomyocytes in a monolayer. Dr. Han’s analysis included a comparison of the arrhythmogenic events in both control and HCM CMs, and an evaluation of the effect of multiple drug treatments over 24 hours. Download her poster, or read her latest publication in Cardiovascular Research.



Winter 2014  Award Winners

We would like to congratulate Dr. Cara L. Sherwood, postdoctoral fellow at Arizona Health Sciences Center (USA), and Catríona Dowling, a graduate student at University of Limerick (Ireland), for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Winter 2015.

Dr. Cara L. Sherwood – AIRWAY EPITHELIAL CELL FUNCTION

cara-l-sherwoodDr. Cara L. Sherwood is awarded for her poster presentation entitled, “E-cigarette liquid flavorings alter airway epithelial cell function”, which she presented at the 54th Annual SOT meeting March 22-26, 2015. Dr. Sherwood used xCELLigence RTCA to analyze the toxicity of e-cigarette constituents on human bronchial epithelial cells.


Catriona Dowling – COLORECTAL CANCER TRANSFORMATION

catriona-dowlingCatríona Dowling is awarded for her poster entitled, “Correlating the expression of Protein Kinase C (PKC) isozymes with the transformed phenotype in colorectal cancer”, which she presented at the AACR Annual Meeting on April 18-22, 2015. The xCELLigence RTCA DP system was used to monitor cell proliferation, migration and invasion upon PKC activation and when cells were co-cultured with patient fibroblasts. Read her latest publication in Bioscience Report.



Fall 2014  Award Winners

Congratulations to Dr. Fabian Stavenuite, a postdoc at The Scripps Research Institute (USA), and Dr. Jemma Evans, a research officer at the MIMR-PHI Institute (Australia), for winning the ACEA Research Travel Award for Fall 2014.

Dr. Fabian Stavenuite – ENDOTHELIAL BARRIER FUNCTION

fabian-stavenuiteDr. Fabian Stavenuite is awarded for his poster presentation entitled “Non-Canonical PAR3 Activation Induces Tie2-Dependent Endothelial Barrier Protective Effects”, which he presented at the 56th ASH Annual Meeting on December 6-9, 2014 in San Francisco, California (USA). Dr. Stavenuite used the RTCA iCELLigence instrument to quantify the disruption and recovery of endothelial barrier function.  Read his latest publication in Blood.


Dr. Jemma Evans – PLACENTAL TROPHOBLAST INVASION

jamma-evansDr. Jemma Evans, a leading female fertility expert, is awarded for her invited talk entitled “Sweetening Placentation: Hyperglycosylated hCG Facilitates Trophoblast Invasion” which she will present at the International Congress on Embryo Implantation and Pregnancy: Intricacies and Strategies for its Success (being held in New Delhi, India, next March).  Combining xCELLigence-monitored cell invasion/migration with other technologies, Dr. Evans demonstrated the importance of hyperglycosylation during placental trophoblast invasion.



Summer 2014 Award Winners

Dr. Felix Bohne, a group leader at German Research Center for Environmental Health, and Dr. Maree Bilandzic, a research officer at the MIMR-PHI Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

Dr. Felix Bohne – BISPECIFIC ANTIBODIES FOR IMMUNOTHERAPY

felix-bohneDr. Felix Bohne was warded for his poster presentation entitled “Bispecific antibody constructs mediate immunotherapeutic retargeting of effector cells towards HBV infected target cells“, which he presented at the 2014 International Meeting on Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B Viruses on September 3-6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California (USA). Download his poster. Also, listen to the recording of his webinar entitled “Bispecific Antibody Constructs Mediate Immunotherapeutic Retargeting of Effector Cells Towards HBV Infected Target Cells.


Dr. Maree Bilandzic – OVARIAN CANCER INVASION

maree-bilandzicDr. Maree Bilandzic was warded for her poster presentation entitled “Assessment of ovarian cancer spheroid attachment and invasion of mesothelial cells in real time to profile the molecular signature of the invasive interface“, which she presented at the 10th Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium on September 8-9, 2014 in Seattle, Washington (USA). Utilizing the xCELLigence CIM device, Bilandzic et al. measured the invasive capacity of ovarian cancer cell lines in real-time. Download her poster and watch her JoVE video publication.



2014 Spring Award Winners

Dr. Michael J. Smout, a research officer at James Cook University, and Dr. Mukerrem Betul Yerer-Aycan, an associate professor at the University of Erciyes in Turkey, are the two winners of the Spring 2014 Grant.

Dr. Michael Smout – PARASITIC WORMS

michael-smoutDr. Michael Smout was awarded for his podium presentation entitled  “A granulin growth factor secreted by the carcinogenic liver fluke, opisthorchis viverrini, and ITS role in wound healing and carcinogenesis”, which he presented  at the  International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA) XIII  on August 10-15, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico. Dr. Smout used xCELLigence real-time cell analysis in conjunction with other technologies like gene silencing to demonstrate a carcinogenic effect for a novel granulin growth factor secreted by the liver parasite, Opisthorchis viverrini.


Dr. Mukerrem Butul Yerer-Aycan – MECHANISM OF ACTION OF NATURAL COMPOUNDS

yerer-aycanDr. Mukerrem Betul Yerer-Aycan was awarded for her podium presentation entitled “Prediction of mechanism of some natural anticancerogen agents by using kinetic cell based morphological screening”, which she presented at the 4th World Congress on Cancer Science & Therapy on October 20-22, 2014 in Chicago, IL, USA. She used the xCELLigence technology to detect the biological activities of natural compounds. Based on impedance-based Time-dependent Cell Response Profiles (TCRP), in comparison to those of the 2000 chemical compounds reported in an earlier study ( Chem Biol 2009; 16 (7): 712-723), she was able to identify novel mechanisms of action for many of the compounds tested.



2014 Winter Award Winners

Monica Charpentier, a graduate student with Dr. Stuart S. Martin at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Dr. Babu Sajesh, a post doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Kirk McManus at Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, are the two winners of the Winter 2014 Grant.

Monica Charpentier – TARGETING BREAST  TUMOR STEM CELLS

monica-charpentierMonica Charpentier was awarded for her poster presentation entitled “Breast tumor stem cells have Increased microtentacles promote reattachment and that can be targeted therapeutically with curcumin“, which she presented at the Keystone Symposia: Stem Cells and Cancer February 2-7, 2014 in Alberta Canada. She demonstrated that real-time monitoring of cell reattachment with xCELLigence can be used to study how breast tumor cells use plasma membrane microtentacles to reattach during metastasis. The xCELLigence technology provided a novel method to differentiate between stem-like and non-stem-like cancer cells, as well as a platform to test potential cancer therapies. Click the links to read more about her poster and 2014 publication in Cancer Research.


Dr. Babu Sajesh – SYNTHETIC LETHALITY IN COLORECTAL CANCER

babu-sajeshDr. Babu Sajesh was awarded for his poster presentation entitled “Synthetic lethal RAD54B-deficient colorectal killing of cells by targeting SOD1 cancer”, which he presented at the 2014 AACR Annual Meeting on April 5-9, in San Diego, CA, USA. Dr. Sajesh used xCELLigence RTCA technology to detect cell proliferation and death induced by SOD1 inhibitors in different genetic backgrounds.  He demonstrated that RAD54B deficiency causes increased sensitivity to SOD1 inhibition.  The label-free nature of the RTCA assay proved advantageous in that it enabled them to avoid potential artifacts associated with using a nuclear dye. Read his poster and 2013 publication in Genetics.

DR. JACQUES-AURELIEN SERGENT – NANOTOXICOLOGY

ACEA also presented an honorable mention to Dr. Jacques-Aurélien Sergent, a Nanotoxicologist at Solvay in Belgium. His poster entitled “Impedancemetry and toxicology of nanomaterials: a review on an emerging alternative method” was presented at Nanotoxicology 2014 on April 23-26. See his poster here.



2013 Fall Award Winners
Dr. Kate Berezowski – CYTOTOXICITY OF OCULAR IRRITANTS

kate-berezowskiDr. Kate Berezowski, a graduate student with Dr. Yu (Dorothy) Huang at Alberta Centre for Toxicology, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, was awarded for her poster presentation entitled “Development of an In Vitro Microelectric Sensing Technique to Assess Cell Cytotoxicity of Ocular Irritants” which she will be presenting at the 53rd Annual SOT meeting on March 24-27, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

The Draize Rabbit Eye Test is currently the most widely accepted method for assessing ocular irritancy of chemicals. However, due to a variety of limitations and concerns with the test, along with changes to legislation, such as the European Union Cosmetics directive regarding the use of experimental animals, alternative methods are being developed at a rapid pace, none of which can singularly replace the Draize Rabbit Eye Test. The study led by Berezowski in Huang’s lab sought to develop and optimize a high throughput in vitro assay using the xCELLigence RTCA system to measure the potential of chemicals, mixtures and commercial products to cause eye irritation. The time-dependent IC50’s derived from RTCA analyses show good correlation with historical Draize data, demonstrating the xCELLigence RTCA technology to be a high throughput, reproducible alternative to an ocular irritation test.


Dr. Sarah Steinbach – VASCULAR SMOOTH MUSCLE CELL ANALYSIS

Dr. Sarah Steinbach, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Mansoor Husain  at the University Health Network in Canada, received an honorable mention for the Fall 2013 award for her innovative use of the xCELLigence system. Her poster entitled “Human patient-specific SKP-derived vascular smooth muscle cells carry signatures of type II diabetes” was presented at American Heart Association Scientific Session. Dr. Steinbach successfully utilized xCELLigence RTCA technology to quantitatively evaluate the contraction of PS-VSMC derived from clinical samples. This builds upon her earlier findings which were published as  “Directed differentiation of skin-derived precursors into functional vascular smooth muscle cells.”



2013 Summer Award Winner
Dr. Asif Iqbal – Macrophage Chemotaxis and Signaling

asif-iqbalDr. Asif Iqbal, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Oxford All in UK, was awarded for his poster presentation entitled “The use of label free electrical impedance sensing technologies for real time analysis of primary murine macrophage chemotaxis and signaling” at the 11th World Congress on Inflammation 2013 in Natal, RN, Brazil.

Dr. Iqbal’s work demonstrated that the xCELLigence systems can effectively monitor dose dependent migration, adhesion and spreading of large numbers of primary murine macrophages toward a range of CC chemokines and other chemoattractants. His work demonstrates that ACEA’s Cell Invasion and Migration (CIM) plate, which is used with the xCELLigence DP system, provides a rapid and reproducible means of monitoring macrophage chemotaxis in a label-free and real-time manner.  His latest work was published in PLoS ONE, March 2013; 8 (3), e58744.



2013 Spring Award Winner
Dr. Kerry Manton – Epidermal Wound Healing

kerry-mantonDr. Kerry Manton, a Research Fellow at All Queensland University of Technology in Australia, was awarded for her poster presentation entitled “Stratum basale keratinocyte cell surface glycoprotein expression of the CDCP1 during epidermogenesis and ITS role in keratinocyte migration” at the TEMTIA Meeting in 2013 Alicante, Spain.

Primary human cells are notoriously variable in their responses to different stimuli. The real-time data acquisition of the xCELLigence system enabled Dr. Manton to monitor the cell migration rates continuously, thereby removing experimental variability. Her novel approach to studying epidermal wound healing is highlighted in the British Journal of Dermatology, March 2013; 168 (3), 496-503.



2013 Winter Award Winner
Dr. Aykut Üren – Tumor Cell Transmigration

aykul-urenAn Associate Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center was awarded for his research presentation entitled “Prevention of osteosarcoma metastasis by inhibiting ezrin” at the Symposium on Paediatric Cancer Research at the INTERFACE 2013 in Vienna, Austria.

The invasion assay described in his work is based on the disruption of endothelial barrier functions as the co-cultured tumor cells invade through the HUVEC monolayer. The cell barrier function disruption leads to a sharp decrease in the cell index that directly correlates with the invasive capacity of tumor cells. For technical details, please see Dr. Üren’s video publication (J. Exp Vis, 2011;(50), e2792.)