August 17, 2011

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation Launches Second IBD Awards Program and Announces $800,000 in Grants

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kenneth Rainin Foundation (KRF) announced today the establishment of its Breakthrough Awards Program, which is designed to enable investigators to further their Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research and increase the likelihood of a breakthrough discovery. These grants are awarded to existing KRF-funded Innovator Award recipients that have demonstrated significant research progress along their proposed "proof of principle" experiments during their initial year's work. Breakthrough Awards are determined at an annual meeting of Innovator awardees with KRF's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and Board members.

The 2011 Breakthrough Awards recipients are:

Andrew S. Neish, M.D., Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, and Julie A. Champion, Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, for their research project entitled "Bioengineering Bacterially Derived Immunomodulants: A Novel Therapeutic Approach to IBD." This project will receive an additional funding grant in the amount of $100,000 for a one-year period.

Dan Peer, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Israel and Eran Elinav, M.D., Ph.D., Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel, for their research project entitled "Harnessing Immuno-nanotechnology for Therapy of Inflammatory Bowel Disease". This project will receive an additional funding grant in the amount of $150,000 per year for a two-year period ($300,000 in total).

In addition, the KRF announced the recipients of its 2011 Innovator Awards Program for IBD research. Each team of investigators will receive a $100K one-year grant in support of their respective innovative research projects.

The 2011 Innovator Award recipients are:

Tiffany Horng, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, for her project entitled "A novel mouse model to study the molecular basis of chronic inflammation in IBD."

Fred Levine, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director and Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., Professor, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Sanford Children's Health Research Center, La Jolla, CA, for their project entitled "Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Enhancing HNF-4a Activity."

Gwen Randolph, Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis, MO, for her project entitled "Interface between adispose antigen-presenting cells, lympahtics, and the expansion of adispose tissue in inflammatory intestinal disease."

Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck M.D., Ph.D. and Herbert W. Virgin, IV, Professor and Chair, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO, for their project entitled "Identification of microbial triggers of colitis in genetically relevant, transmissible mouse model."

Out of the 72 LOIs received at the close of its 2011 Innovator Award Program window on February 15, 2011, 22 applicants were selected by the KRF's SAB to submit full applications. Averil Ma, Chair of the SAB said "the SAB was very impressed with the quality of the applications and their close alignment with the KRF's Innovator Award's criteria."

Jen Rainin, president of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation said, "funding four new Innovator Awards and two Breakthrough Awards is very exciting for all of us. By supporting these outstanding projects, we are steadily making headway towards accomplishing the Foundation's mission of no one suffering from IBD. My late father, Kenneth Rainin, would be elated by the progress that is being made."

About the Innovator Awards Program for IBD Research

The goal of the Innovator Awards Program is to reach out to all scientific disciplines from any non-profit research institution worldwide as a means to attract innovative researchers and encourage integrative cooperation across all disciplines in an effort to accomplish the Foundation's mission of no one suffering from IBD.

The Program's key components for funding consideration include innovation, strong evidence of collaboration, scientific merit and a high potential for success as well as funding projects that, due to their innovative nature, may not be eligible for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other more traditional sources.

Details of the Foundation's 2012 Innovator Awards Program will be announced in the fall of 2011. Please visit our website for updates.

About the Breakthrough Awards Program for IBD Research

The goal of the Breakthrough Awards Program is to provide longer term support to existing KRF-funded Innovator Award recipients that have demonstrated significant "proof of principle" research progress validating their original innovative hypotheses. KRF Innovator Awardees are evaluated for potential Breakthrough Awards at the end of their initial year of funding at the KRF's Annual SAB meeting.

About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. The main forms of IBD are Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include pain, bleeding and debilitation. Current therapeutic options for patients are largely limited to the use of anti-inflammatory steroids applied either systemically or locally for the treatment of the symptoms. Removal of the colon is the only cure at this time. Approximately five million people worldwide suffer from some form of IBD.

About the Foundation

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation ( is a private family foundation that funds inspiring and world-changing work. We are dedicated to supporting effective early childhood literacy programs, enabling inspiration through the arts and creating opportunities for novel approaches and alternative treatment options for those with chronic disease.

The Scientific Advisory Board members are Averil Ma, M.D., Chair of the SAB and Kenneth Rainin Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Director, Colitis and Crohn's Disease Center, UCSF; Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine; Dan Littman, M.D., Ph.D., Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Professor of Molecular Immunology and Professor of Pathology and Microbiology, Skirball Institute Program of Molecular Pathogenesis, NYU Langone Medical Center; and Claudio Fiocchi, M.D., The Clifford and Jane Anthony Chair for Digestive Disease Research and Education, Department of Pathobiology, Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

SOURCE The Kenneth Rainin Foundation