Published: June 1, 2021

Virginia Ferguson and Mark BordenAssociate Professor Virginia Ferguson and Professor Mark Borden have earned AB Nexus grants for spring 2021, funding intended to support interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers at CU Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Ferguson earned a $50,000 grant in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Connell of CU Anschutz to study precisely how chronic inflammation and degeneration of the extracellular matrix is connected to pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is a costly and debilitating disorder that impacts millions of women, yet the underlying mechanisms responsible for the compromise of the pelvic support tissues are poorly understood, and few animal models to study prolapse exist. The researchers have identified evidence of inflammation and metabolic endotoxemia (ME) in pelvic support tissues from women with prolapse and will establish a metabolic endotoxemia mouse model that will define the impact of circulating lipopolysaccharide on inflammation, extracellular matrix content and biomechanical properties of critical pelvic support structures in order to create a practical animal model to further study the effects of ME on the pelvic floor. They hope the work will ultimately develop early intervention strategies to prevent pelvic organ prolapse.

Borden earned a $125,000 grant in partnership with Richard KP Benninger of CU Anschutz to develop new ultrasound contrast agents to track the progression and guide treatment to prevent Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes follows the immune-mediated destruction of insulin-producing beta cells, requiring lifelong insulin therapy and increasing the risk of diabetic complications. Through this existing collaboration, the researchers will develop novel molecularly-targeted phase-change ultrasound contrast agents to track the progression of insulitis and guide therapeutic treatments to prevent type 1 diabetes.

This is the second round of the Research Collaboration Grant program. Learn more about the awards.