This application is for Research Career Scientist award for Niketa A. Patel, Ph.D., 8/8th VA, PI of active VAMR award, national peer-reviewed research support since 2005, office (Room 303-4) and laboratory (Suites 300 and 303) in James A. Haley Veterans? Hospital Research Service space. I have developed and established a strong program in cellular and molecular mechanisms of metabolic diseases. My research integrates human studies (translational relevance to human physiology/pathophysiology), in vitro cell studies (for mechanistic studies of alternative splicing and role of noncoding RNA; elucidation of cause vs. effect), in vivo rodent studies (for determining whole body systemic impact of novel inhibitors and stabilizers) and cutting-edge transcriptomics (such as RNAseq global analysis of coding and noncoding RNA and cellular signaling). I have successfully carved a niche in integrating RNA biology with signaling in biologically relevant systems and understanding how it may be a cause or consequence of a disease. Overall, my projects focus on the role of adipose as an endocrine organ and impact of its secretome on the metabolic processes in the body. My research was pivotal to demonstrate that the adipose stem cells? niche is altered in obesity. 61-83% of DoD beneficiaries and 78% of VA beneficiaries are over-weight or obese, a significantly higher percent compared to general population (VA/DoD Clinical guideline, 2014). With over 9.2 million beneficiaries, the cost of obesity and its related diseases exceeds $1.7 billion annually for the VA while total US expenditures has risen to $254 billion annually. An important application of my research is development of exosomes derived from human adipose stem cells as treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) related sequelae. TBI significantly affects the quality of life of veterans and military readiness of our country. A significantly higher percent (22%) of US soldiers and veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan (OEF/OIF) have brain injuries compared to those from Vietnam era (12%). The VA projects the 10-year (2016?2025) economic costs of TBI to be $2.2 billion with $0.5 billion for OEF/OIF veterans (CRS report on TBI, 2015). The exosomes from human adipose- derived stem cells provide a novel, cell-free regenerative approach for treatment of chronic effects of TBI. My lab?s recent publications (Sparks et al, Journal of Biological Chemistry 2019; Shi et al, Cell Chemical Biology, 2019; Patel et al, Journal of Neuroinflammation 2018) showcasing extensive work with cutting edge technologies and development of new therapeutics has received immense national and international recognition. These publications follow my career?s trend of publishing translationally relevant, mechanistically strong research in high-impact journals. I hold five USPTO patents with VA asserted rights which were developed as part of my VA duties as a scientist. I have been an invited speaker at national and international scientific meetings. I serve my local VA by serving on IACUC, SRS and R&D committees since 2007 and as Director of JAHVH molecular core facility. At SRS, I have served as vice-chair (2012-14) and Chair (2015-2019). I serve at the national level in the VA Career Development review committee, VA ENDA Merit review Committee and NIH CADO committees. At my affiliate University of South Florida, I teach in the graduate and medical courses since 2002. I have mentored undergraduate, graduate and medical students who have established successful careers. Over the years, I have collaborated with VA and non-VA, clinicians and scientists which has resulted in publications and national grants. Overall, I have contributed significantly to JAHVH research mission of conducting cutting-edge translational research to boost healthcare of Veterans and contributing to the long-term research goals of VAMC.

Public Health Relevance

This application is for Research Career Scientist award for Niketa A. Patel, Ph.D., 8/8th VA, PI of active VAMR award, national peer-reviewed research support since 2005, office and laboratory in JAHVH Research Service space. Dr. Patel?s cutting-edge research supports VA mission to boost healthcare of Veterans as evidenced by continuous federal funding, high impact publications and collaborations within VA and in academia. Dr. Patel?s record demonstrates extensive service to local VA and nationally as well as at the affiliate USF which also includes teaching and mentoring graduate and medical students. Dr. Patel holds five US patents with VA asserted rights. Dr. Patel has successfully collaborated with VA clinicians and scientists which have resulted in publications and grants. Overall, Dr. Patel?s research and service to VA supports the application of a career-track for non-clinician RCS award.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Veterans Affairs (VA)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRD1)
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James A. Haley VA Medical Center
United States
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