UK Wins $10 Million Grant

Contact: Allison Elliott

Photo of Louis B. Hersh
Louis B. Hersh

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“The COBRE grant lays the groundwork to further enhance research at the University of Kentucky. The work done through the grant will help the university attract top graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty, create a rich research environment, and make UK more competitive as it competes for future research funding.”

-- Louis B. Hersh,
COBRE program director,
University of Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2004) -- The University of Kentucky is closer than ever to becoming a top-20 research institution.

Having won a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant totaling over $10 million, the university is poised to produce the next generation of research into cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The research itself will be led by a new generation of UK scientists working with their first major grants.

The COBRE funding from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will support five promising tenure track assistant professors in the UK College of Medicine. All five will serve as principal investigators in a research study of their own design, with the aid of senior faculty mentors. The investigators will be Young-In Chi, diabetes research, and Richard McCann, Haining Zhu and Rina Plattner, cancer research. Paul Murphy will join the university as an assistant professor in January 2005 and is slated to study Alzheimer's disease, pending approval of his project by NCRR. Each project will focus on human disease on the molecular level, paving the way for future prevention and treatments that will aid people in the Commonwealth and beyond.

“It is gratifying to see the focus on mentoring,” said Wendy Baldwin, UK executive vice president for research. “Often we think of researchers as isolated in their laboratories, but a key feature of a research university is that it provides mentoring to students and new faculty to help them develop their careers and better develop their research areas.”

Louis B. Hersh, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry, will serve as the COBRE program director. Hersh has worked for many years to increase the understanding of human disease on the molecular level.

“The COBRE grant,” said Hersh “lays the groundwork to further enhance research at the University of Kentucky. The work done through the grant will help the university attract top graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty, create a rich research environment, and make UK more competitive as it competes for future research funding.”

Other faculty who were instrumental in obtaining the grant include: Doug Andres, associate professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; Robert C. Dickson, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; Natasha Kyprianou, professor of surgery, division of urology, and professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry;  Dan Noonan, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; David W. Rodgers, associate professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; Eric Smart, professor of pediatrics; Thomas C. Vanaman, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry; and Sidney W. Whiteheart, associate professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry. These individuals will serve as senior faculty mentors.


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