Awardee Accomplishments (Fall 2016)

Learn How RAP Funding Benefited these Investigators (compiled: 4.26.21)






Adam Renslo, PhD
School of Pharmacy – Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Pilot Award in Precision Imaging of Cancer and Therapy
A Novel PET Reagent for Imaging Metastases and as a Companion Diagnostic Agent

How did the RAP grant allow for further funding and/or publications?

RAP funding was instrumental in allowing us to pursue our idea for a first-in-class small molecule to detect labile ferrous iron in cells and animals by positron emission tomography (PET).  With RAP funding, a prototype molecule dubbed 18F-TRX was designed and synthesized by CCB graduate student Ryan Muir in the Renslo lab (Pharm. Chem), and then evaluated in mice by postdoc Dr. Ning Zhao and other collaborators in the Evans laboratory (Radiology).  As hoped, 18F-TRX detected changes in iron distribution in live mice (paper 1) and was next used to assess labile iron levels across ten different mouse tumor models (paper 2), and to predict the therapeutic efficacy of iron-activated chemotherapies developed previously by our laboratory.  In addition to these publications, a patent application describing the new technology was filed by UCSF, and later optioned to Tatara Therapeutics, Inc.   

Paper 1:  Muir et al. Measuring Dynamic Changes in the Labile Iron Pool in Vivo with a Reactivity-Based Probe for Positron Emission Tomography  ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 727-736

Paper 2:  Zhao et al.  Ferronostics: Measuring Tumoral Ferrous Iron with PET to Predict Sensitivity to Iron-Targeted Cancer Therapies.  J. Nuc. Med. 2020. jnumed.120.252460

Patent application:  Renslo et al. Trioxolane Agents. May 7 2020, US2020/0140406A1

What was the type of follow-up funding since the initial RAP award?

In February 2021, a new R01 application submitted by Drs. Evans and Renslo received a fundable score out of study section. 

What is the focus of your research today?

With the new 4-year R01 funding, we will explore an in vivo 'pre-targeting' approach to image labile iron.  We predict that pre-targeting will improve signal to noise and allow imaging of labile iron across a broader range of tissues.   In addition, Dr. Evans and clinical colleagues are working with the FDA toward clinical translation of 18F-TRX in cancer patients at UCSF, with first human dose expected by the end of 2021.  


Hilary Seligman, MD MAS
School and Department of Medicine
One-Year Innovation Award in Prematurity Research

EatSF: Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers to Support Pregnant Mothers in San Francisco with Food Security and Healthy Dietary Intake

Awarded $ 75K – Fall, 2016

How did the RAP grant allow for further funding and/or publications?
People in low-income households frequently report challenges affording the healthy foods they prefer to eat, particularly fruits and vegetables. The tension between what a limited food budget allows and the desire to eat a healthier diet is often strongest during pregnancy. EatSF allows participants to exchange vouchers for fruits and vegetables of their choice at one of our 30+ EatSF corner stores, grocery stores, or farmers markets. Since April 2015, we have distributed $5-10 of vouchers weekly to thousands of households.  In February 2017, EatSF expanded to pregnant people. RAP funding allowed us the unique opportunity to examine the impact of the program among low-income, pregnant people enrolled in WIC in San Francisco.  In the pre-post study, published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental nutrition, we found that people enrolled in the program had better food security and healthier dietary intake (see our infographic for more details). There was also a suggestion that birth outcomes were improved.  Based on the success of this data, we successfully competed for additional funding from Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

What was the type of follow-up funding since the initial RAP award?  
The follow-up funding from Healthy Eating Research allows us to use a more rigorous study design to examine the impact of EatSF on food security, dietary intake, and birth outcomes among pregnant people enrolled in WIC. That study is still in progress.  In addition, robust evidence of EatSF’s positive impact has allowed us to maintain or expand funding for the voucher program from a number of key partners, including the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health which funds the vouchers for pregnant people enrolled in WIC.  A list of current funders is available on EatSF’s website.

What is the focus of your research today?
The Food Policy, Health and Hunger Research Program, housed within UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, is committed to creating communities where healthy food is affordable and easily accessible for everyone. Our research focuses on community-based interventions and policies impacting the food environment and food affordability, federal nutrition assistance programs, and the charitable food network.  We also study the impact of food insecurity on health outcomes across the life course. We are committed to changing the inequitable policies that make food insecurity so much more common in communities of color.


Neel Singhal, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Neurology, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Pilot for Junior Investigators in Basic and Clinical/Translational Sciences

Resilience to ischemia-reperfusion injury: Insights into novel mitochondrial targets from hibernating ground squirrels

Awarded $ 40K – Fall, 2016

How did the RAP grant allow for further funding and/or publications?
The research supported by the RAP grant led to a recent publication in the journal eLife .
The RAP work formed the basis for my career development grant proposals. (I expect to hear about funding in late May, 2021 – it looks promising).

What was the type of follow-up funding since the initial RAP award?  
Since the initial RAP award was made, I was awarded a career development award from the American Heart Association and an award from the Hellman Family Foundation.

What is the focus of your research today?
The focus of my research continues to further our understanding of brain cell resilience to stroke injury with the hopes of developing more effective treatments for stroke.

Additional/final comments:I am very grateful to RAP for seeding my initial research and for kick-starting two additional grants since awarded.