Spotlight on research

Tiny molecules

In September, UF launched the Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics with a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. An emerging field, metabolomics is the study of small molecules called metabolites, which result from the metabolic processes that fuel and sustain life. “By measuring metabolites, we can get a unique window into disease,” said Arthur S. Edison, Ph.D., co-principal investigator and director of the Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics. “We’re excited to join the international metabolomics community in helping scientists better understand when and how disease happens.” With the new grant, UF ’s Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics joins a pioneering consortium of five other regional resource centers and a national coordinating center supported by the NIH Common Fund.

Keeping score

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation has awarded a two-year, $499,000 grant to College of Pharmacy researcher Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., to lead a UF Health research team that will develop and validate a complexity score to help hospitals determine the best pharmacist staffing to prevent adverse drug events and improve patient safety. Health care reform measures call for better quality and safer health care with lower costs. To meet new challenges, the American Society of Health- System Pharmacists, or ASH P, has proposed a pharmacy practice model that emphasizes pharmacists’ key role in medication therapy management. To place pharmacists at the bedside of those patients who need their services the most, guidance is needed, Winterstein said.

Obesity in the heartland

The University of Florida has received a $3.7 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to test the effectiveness of long-term weight management programs geared to people living in rural areas. “We’re trying to find ways to tackle the serious problem of obesity and sedentary lifestyle in rural areas, which typically have little access to programs that promote physical fitness and proper nutrition,” said principal investigator Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. In a 2012 study conducted by Perri and co-investigators at the University of Kansas Medical Center, the researchers found that almost 40 percent of rural adults were obese compared with just over 33 percent of urban adults.