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SCCM-Weil Research Grant Update: Where Are They Now?

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Research paves the way to better critical care through discovery and innovation. In its efforts to improve critical care medicine around the world and secure the highest-quality care for all critically ill and injured patients, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) supports researchers through grants funded by the SCCM-Weil Research Trust.

Named for the Society’s founder and first president, Max Harry Weil, MD, PhD, MCCM, the SCCM-Weil Research Trust commemorates his accomplishments in the field. Dr. Weil committed his entire life to the pillars of academic life through patient care, discovery, innovation, and education. Continuing this commitment to research, SCCM awards the trust’s SCCM-Weil Research Grant annually to SCCM members carrying out basic, translational, or clinical research.

Learn more about how SCCM-Weil Research Grants are improving care are at

2018 SCCM-Weil Research Grant Recipient
Nandita R. Nadig, MD, MSCR
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

The Psychological Impact of Inter-ICU Transfers

Can you summarize your research and how you think it will impact the critical care community?
Every year about 5 million Americans are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). Many of these patients undergo inter-ICU transfer. Although intended to benefit patients, it is unclear how inter-ICU transfers affect families. The overall goal of this research is to gather preliminary insights into the psychological impact of inter-ICU transfer on families.

The lack of clarity and paucity of knowledge about family experiences during inter-ICU transfers are important knowledge gaps that this study will help address. Regardless of whether we find the family-centered impact to be adverse, positive, or neutral, these findings will inform future intervention studies and allow clinicians, patients, and families to make informed decisions regarding inter-ICU transfer and streamline future ICU regionalized networks by improving family experiences.

How will this grant impact your research?
This SCCM-Weil Research Grant will greatly accelerate the impact of my research program. This award is the first step in fostering my long-term career goal of becoming an independently funded clinical investigator focusing on improving outcomes in critically ill patients and families. My specific interest is in the area of inter-ICU transfers, and my objective is to understand the intricacies of this complex process with a long-term goal of developing and testing strategies to improve processes of care during transitions.

2017 SCCM-Weil Research Grant Recipient
Sheila A. Alexander, BSN, PhD, RN, FCCM
Associate Professor of Nursing
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Temporal Inflammatory Gene Methylation Profiles and ICU Delirium

Can you summarize your research and how it has impacted (or will impact) the critical care community?
Previous research, by my team and others, has found that intensive care unit (ICU) patients who develop delirium have elevated serum proinflammatory cytokines. The source(s) of individual variability in delirium or this proinflammatory state in ICU patients remains undiscovered.

Our project utilizes a temporal epigenetic approach to address this question. Results from this project will increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of delirium in ICU patients and may contribute to a larger platform aimed at individualized therapies to prevent and treat delirium.

How has the grant influenced where you are today?
This grant has advanced my research trajectory substantially. It contributed to the development of my expertise in delirium and critical care research. Early preliminary findings generated from this grant were used to support a proposal currently under consideration for an exploratory/ developmental research (R21) grant from the National Institute on Aging. Mounting a strong research trajectory requires multiple funding sources to fully realize the work’s goals and advance the science. The SCCM-Weil Research Grant made a strong contribution toward my end goal of developing a platform for individualized treatment of common conditions in the critical care environment.

Has the grant led to any interesting findings?
While we continue to work on the manuscript reporting the project’s full findings, our initial analyses have been very interesting. There is individual, time-dependent variability in the methylation of select inflammatory genes, which theoretically leads to decreased protein production and inflammation. We have undertaken additional work to validate this hypothesis by incorporating the actual inflammatory proteins (collected over time) into the statistical analyses.