APDA Seed Funding Leads to Prestigious NIH Research Grant

APDA Seed Funding Leads to Prestigious NIH Research Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Beom-Chan Lee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at University of Houston, and APDA Research Grant awardee in 2016-2017 and 2018-2019, on receiving a recently-awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) R21 grant. Dr. Lee’s NIH grant submission was supported by the data obtained with his APDA funding.

APDA is exceptionally proud to provide seed funding to early career researchers which allows them to start a new project with a novel idea. Typically, this first grant is difficult to obtain from other traditional sources of funding. APDA has made it the cornerstone of our research funding strategy to provide support to early career researchers with meritorious new ideas. With funding from APDA, these  can further develop their theories and obtain initial proof of concept that enables them to apply for larger grants. Without this initial funding from APDA, some research projects, like Dr. Lee’s, might never have gotten off the ground.

Dr. Lee and his research team assessed the usability of a new smartphone-based balance training system, called the Smarter Balance System (SBS), for in-home use by people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The SBS is a smartphone-based wearable biofeedback technology that incorporates visual and vibratory feedback and provides real-time error measures as patients are performing balance exercises. Dr. Lee conducted a small clinical trial using the device. The results showed that the group that used the SBS significantly improved their balance control after six weeks of in-home balance exercises. These improvements were retained for an additional month after the exercises were stopped. The group that did not have the SBS intervention did not show similar improvements in balance.

Using these results, Dr. Lee was able to obtain the NIH grant which will run from August 2019 to July 2021 and will allow him to test his device in more patients. We wish Dr. Lee much success in his continued efforts to help the PD community and are very proud to have been a part of his early work.

To read more about Dr. Lee’s research and all of the research projects APDA has funded, visit our website.

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