Alumni Research Initiative

Saturday, 19 April 2008 23:48 Carol D'Souza
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2008-04-19

The St. Johns Alumni Research Contributions

Several initiatives to support research at St. Johns have been conducted by alumni. It is worth remembering the contributions of Dr. Salim Yusuf over the years. Dr. Salim Yusuf was instrumental in setting up the St. Johns Research Institute (SJRI). He has initiated and supported the Clinical Trials Group and large scale epidemiological studies done at SJRI with an endowment of CAN$500,000 (INR 1,51,00,000). The results of this support have been training of junior faculty, successful applications for grant funding, and research publications in peer reviewed journals of high impact.

The Alumni Research Initiative (ARI) is a collective effort of St. Johns alumni worldwide established in 2006. The first ARI 2007 commenced in July 2007 and has funded 3 faculty candidates and one post graduate student. The initiative executes its mandate through a steering committee which is chaired by the Dean, Dr. Prem Pais in his role as patron of the alumni association. The other members of the steering committee include the dean of the research institute, academic secretary of the St. Johns alumni associations, secretary of the St. Johns research society and Dr. Arun Shet, the coordinator. The initiative makes annual requests for research applications in April of each year from medical students, post graduates and junior faculty (up to the level of associate professor). Applications are requested annually and are reviewed by a scientific committee designated by the steering committee. Two successful awards are made annually in each of the three categories if the applications fulfill the mandate of the ARI.

More recently, Dr. Anthony Kalliath has planned a $100,000 endowment which will raise $2500 annually through interest which will go toward supporting hematology research. This endowment will be managed by Friends of St. Johns and Dr. Kalliath who will eventually determine the scope, goal, and administration of this award.

The St. Johns Alumni Research Initiative

History:

The Alumni Research Initiative is the collective effort of St. Johns alumni. The initiative started when a few alumni wondered if they could do more for St. Johns in a way that fulfilled the needs of St. Johns. Two ideas were proposed in Dec 2005. Dr. Venkat Narayan proposed the idea of a school of Public Health and Dr. Arun Shet proposed the idea of an intramural grant network to stimulate research. The conceptualization and fund raising took place on the internet with Dr. Venkat Narayan as the main spearhead. Dr. Ivan Chou led the way with an initial pledge of $1000 which was followed by Dr. Venkat Narayan and several donors pledged funds with ultimately 20 alumni of the many that pledged contributing $1000 each. Subsequently an additional amount of $5000 was allocated to this corpus from the 2006 Golf outing fundraiser by Dr. Marian Kamath. A collective decision to start a corpus for an intramural grant network at St. Johns called the Alumni Research Initiative was made in discussion with the management of St. Johns National Academy of Health Sciences and Dr. Venkat Narayan drafted the first proposal for the initiative. The decision to use these funds for the research initiative was authorized by the board of the trustees of Friends of St. Johns, a tax exempt non profit organization in the US through which raises funds for the CBCI society for medical education. The executive committee of the NA chapter headed by Dr. Deepak Edward approved the proposal during their September 2006 meeting. In March 2007, the total amount of $25,000 was disbursed to the CBCI society for medical education to execute this initiative. The first alumni research initiative 2007 commenced on April 4rth 2007 and has funded 3 faculty candidates and one post graduate student.

Goal:

The overall goal of the initiative is to fund hypothesis driven research that has impact on socially relevant health conditions in India. It is eventually hoped that clinical faculty at St. Johns will obtain grant writing skills, start developing and testing hypotheses, and generate preliminary data that will eventually lead to future grant applications to national funding agencies.

Functioning:

The initiative executes its mandate through a steering committee which is chaired by the Dean, Dr. Prem Pais in his role as patron of the alumni association. The other members of the steering committee include the dean of the research institute, academic secretary of the St. Johns alumni associations, secretary of the St. Johns research society and Dr. Arun Shet, the coordinator. The initiative makes annual requests for research applications in April of each year from medical students, post graduates and junior faculty (up to the level of associate professor). Applications are requested annually and are reviewed by a scientific committee designated by the steering committee. Two successful awards are made annually in each of the three categories.

Current status

Support for this initiative:

The initiative continues to raise funds though alumni worldwide. Recently, one alumnus has announced annual funding of $1000 for this initiative over the individuals life time. Alumni in India, Canada, Middle East and the UK have also been generous in their support of this initiative. For a complete list of donors who have supported this initiative please contact Dr. Ragavendra Baliga This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Long term sustainability:

The current decision of the steering committee is that they will be disbursed funds annually till such time that the corpus is completely utilized. Alternatively, it is hoped that alumni will continue to contribute generously to this initiative so that it raises an endowment that can generate an interest amount that can support funds for annual awards. At current exchange rates, this will require an endowment equivalent to $150,000 that will generate an annual interest of ~$13050 (assuming a rate of return of 8%).

Fund raising for the corpus:

Several alumni have taken on the goal of fund raising. Dr. Ivan Chou has taken over from Dr. Venkat Narayan and makes regular email appeals for funds. Dr. Gerard Abreu and another alumini have committed to funding for a prolonged period of time. Thus, over time it is hoped that the target corpus is achieved. If you are in North America and require more information or wish to make a donation, please contact Dr. Ragavendra Baliga This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If you are anywhere else in the world and require more information or wish to make a donation, please contact Dr. Arun Shet This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Statement of account (March 2008):

Amount in:  INR10,07,750.00
Amount out:  INR 326,190
Balance:  INR 681,560
(Excludes contributions made after the initial transfer of $25,000)

Research Society:

Several years ago, St. Johns also started a research society that raises funds from institutional overheads raised from industry sponsored trials and research projects conducted at SJNAHS. This society calls for research applications from faculty on a biannual basis and funds eligible proposals from faculty candidates. The research society secretary sits of the steering committee of the alumni research initiative.

St. Johns Alumni Research Initiative 2007

Date: June 22nd, 2007
The St. John’s alumni research initiative 2007 for the funding of research proposals from medical undergraduates, postgraduates, and faculty announces the results of the 2007 funding cycle.

Applications received:

Faculty:   14
Postgraduates  5
Medical Students  2

Applications funded:

Faculty:   3
Postgraduates  1
Medical Students  0

Successful applications:

      1. Role of modified rapid histochemical and immunohistochemistry in determining the distal level of normally innervated colon in Hirschprungs disease.

Dr. M.K. Babu (Pathology) Amount funded Rs.1.0 Lakh.

      2. Evaluation of HIV-1 polymerase technique using dried blood spots (DBS) for diagnosis of perinatal transmission of HIV.

Dr. Saraswathi (Microbiology) Amount funded Rs.2.0 Lakh.

      3. To study the effect of osmolytes on aggregation and amyloidogenesis of A? protein in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Amit K. Mandal (Molecular Medicine) Amount funded Rs.1.0 Lakh.

      4. Flow mediated dilation and carotid intima/media thickness in urban and rural adolescents belonging to different socioeconomic strata.

Dr. Srivatsa D.V. (Physiology postgraduate, Mentor Dr. Mario Vaz) Amount funded Rs. 50 thousand.

Dr. Prem Pais

Chair

 

APPLICATION FOR ST. JOHNS ALUMNI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

(RESEARCH FELLOW APPLICATION FORM)

1. General Information:

a) Name of Candidate:

b) Date of Birth:

c) Address: (include email and telephone contact)

d) Title:

e) Department:

f) Institution:

2. Title of the project:

3. Aims, Goals and Objectives: (max 100 words)

4. Background and Rationale: (max 200 words, excluding cited literature) 

5. Hypothesis and Specific Aims: (max 100 words)

6. Relevance of the project and impact on advancing health care: (max 50 words)

7. Preliminary Data:

8. Study Design and statistical methods: 

9. Details regarding human subjects protection and Ethics committee review

10. Budget and project time line: (Include quarterly verifiable indicators of progress)

11. Mentors name and biographical sketch: (Applicable only to student candidates; attach separate sheet)

12. Candidates biographical sketch and career plans: (attach separate document)

13. Sponsorship letter from head of department: (Applicable only to faculty candidates). Letter must indicate clearly that the head of department will ensure completion of the proposed research project in the event of premature termination of the principal investigators tenure at the institution (prior to date of expiry of research timeline).

14. Feedback for funding agency: (answer in 1 word or sentence)

a) How did you hear about this funding opportunity

b) What difficulties did you have in completing this application

c) Do you feel that you have adequate support from your mentor to compete for this project

d) Do you have adequate support from the institution to compete for this project

e) After you complete this project, will you apply for further grant support

f) What further training do you think you need to prepare applications that in your eyes will be successful (regardless of their funding success)

g) Do you think that health research is important for you to perform

h) Do you think patients believe that health research is important

i) What are the barriers that prevent you from doing research

j) Do you think that completion of this project will enable you to report your findings, publish an abstract, publish a paper

Created on 12/16/2005 5:16 PM Draft #2 2/15/2006

Draft # 3 3/30/2007

Created by Arun Shet


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