Researchers launch new studies tackling topics in critical care medicine and pulmonary disease

Deadline approaches for applications for Johnson Center’s next round of grants

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Keyur Shah, M.D., Shobha Ghosh, Ph.D. and Arash Samarghandi, M.D.

Recipients of the latest grants from the Virginia Commonwealth University Johnson Center for Critical Care and Pulmonary Research have begun research on topics ranging from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to how curcumin effects patients with metabolic syndrome, while the center prepares to consider a new wave of applications.

The newest recipients, Shobha Ghosh, Ph.D., Arash Samarghandi, M.D., and Keyur Shah, M.D., all of VCU Health, each received $25,000 in support of their research from the Johnson Center as part of its mission to support collaborative and novel research by new and veteran clinical and bench scientists. The grants were awarded during the first of two opportunities for VCU and VCU Health researchers to secure research funding this year through the Johnson Center.

The awards to Ghosh, Samarghandi and Shah represent the fourth round of grants awarded by the Johnson Center since August 2016. The purpose of the grants is to enhance the visibility, capacity and quality of research in the areas of critical care medicine and pulmonary disease. Each recipient’s research is collaborative and focuses on bench-to-bedside translational research. The breadth of research that has received support has aligned with the Johnson Center’s mission, said Chris DeWilde, associate director of clinical research services at the Johnson Center.

“We are pleased to have funded so many talented and ambitious researchers who are doing important work,” she said.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Feb. 28. A letter of intent is requested by Feb. 15. Award recipients will be announced in March and start research in July.

If a department or division needs research assistance but lacks means, the Johnson Center can provide other forms of backing, including assistance with research development, protocol writing, study planning, identification of funding prospects, and even study staffing. Prevention and control of critical care disorders also are part of the Johnson Center’s mission. Through community outreach and education about critical care statistics and current standards of care, bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench research can make a difference, DeWilde said.

“VCU has a wealth of novel and innovative research ideas ready to be developed, and we want to tap into that with cross-collaboration that doesn’t exclude any department or division from the chance to do research,” DeWilde said.

Below are the details of the recent recipients’ projects. For information on how to apply for the March grant awards, contact DeWilde at

  • Ghosh, professor, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine. “Effects of Curcumin Supplementation on Gut Barrier Function in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome.”
  • Samarghandi, assistant clinical professor, Department of Internal Medicine. “Association Between Low Inspiratory Flow Rate (PIFR) and Inspiratory Muscle Strength with Readmission Rate in Patients with Acute Exacerbation of COPD.”
  • Shah, associate professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine. “The Impact of Non-Human Leucocyte Antigen Antibodies on Cardiac Allograft Outcomes in Patients Bridged with Left Ventricular Assisted Device.”