The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics awarded five grants to Mayo Clinic collaborative projects in 2018.

Five teams at the clinic will begin two-year projects to work on treatment options for the following diseases: epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, colorectal cancer and bacterial infections.

Those teams, and their projects, include:

• Lynne Bemis, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, and Gregory Worrell, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, will research training vesicles in the brain to help with epilepsy treatment.

• Lincoln Potter, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Sundeep Khosla, M.D., Mayo Clinic, will try to discover why a certain breed of mice have exceptionally thick bones. If they can determine the cause, it might translate into a valuable treatment for osteoporosis.

• Dezhi Liao, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Michelle Mielke, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, will study tau proteins in humans and mice to understand the role in Alzheimer’s disease.

• Ran Blekhman, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Khashayarsha Khazaie, Ph.D. D.Sc., Mayo Clinic, will explore how gene mutations in cancer tumors can affect microbes in the gut and how the makeup of those microbes, in turn, alters tumor growth.

• Valerie Pierre, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, and Timothy DeGrado, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, will work to develop a method to identify bacterial infections using tracer technology, to improve treatment and patient recovery.

The state-funded grants for the projects total almost $5 million. Minnesota legislature contributed another $500,000 for Alzheimer’s disease research.

The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics includes researchers from the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, and the state of Minnesota.