Pierobon, MBiTe lab part of new $24.5 NSRI grant from Defense Health Agency

Massimiliano Pierobon
Massimiliano Pierobon

School of Computing Associate Professor Massimiliano Pierobon and his MBiTe lab are part of a new project funded by a $24.5 million NSRI grant from the Defense Health Agency.

The grant is the third contract from the Defense Health Agency (DHA) on a project that totals $35 million in funding to the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and University of Nebraska Medical Center. It is the highest single-project award in NSRI’s history.

The project goal is to advance the development of a first-of-its-kind prophylactic to help protect U.S. troops from the effects of exposure to high levels of radiation.

Pierobon has been working on the project for a few years and has contributed to drafting the proposal that led to this latest grant. He is applying molecular information and communication theory as well as predictive computer modeling and simulations to understand the joint effects of radiation exposure and prophylactic measures. He is also aiding in the design of effective countermeasures that will be evaluated for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“This has been a one-of-a-kind experience since I started a few years ago,” Pierobon said. “My past work in drug delivery system engineering—that I did in my very first years as assistant professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln—has been instrumental in contributing to this project.”

“In some aspects, this is similar to the characterization of wireless communication systems and radiopropagation, with the difference that the wave frequencies and the energy involved are much much higher,” Pierobon said.

While Pierobon brings his research knowledge and experience to the team, he is also expanding it through the project and in cooperation with his fellow researchers from UNL and UNMC.

“We are so diverse and we share very different backgrounds and I am learning a lot from all the collaborators,” Pierobon said. “While contributing to this project with my expertise, I am exploring fields that are new to me, such as related ionizing radiation, its biological effects, and prophylactic countermeasures.”

Read the full story in Nebraska Today.

More details at: https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/nsri-nu-awarded-245m-contract-to-develop-acute-radiation-syndrome/