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School of Pharmacy awarded $1.2 million in NIH grants

Published October 30, 2015

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded grants to three faculty members in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPS), totaling nearly $1.2 million.

“Grants from the National Institutes of Health are some of the most prestigious and difficult grants to obtain,” said Dr. Benny Blaylock, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “This funding signifies the recognition of our Basic Sciences faculty by the NIH as upper echelon researchers in the area of pharmaceutical sciences.”

NIH Grant

The mission of ULM’s BPS is to advance health care through cutting-edge research and instruction on the utilization of chemicals as medicines, chemical interactions with biological systems, and modes of delivery of therapeutic agents. The NIH grants will enable the BPS to carry out this mission through innovative pharmaceutical and neurological research.

Among those awarded is Dr. Karen Briski, professor and BPS department head. Briski will investigate neural mechanisms that are responsible for suppressing reproduction during energy deficiency. Fertility in females declines when energy supply does not meet metabolic demands. This cross-disciplinary project combines ULM neuroscience expertise with state-of-the-art atomic physics technology at the University of North Texas. “Combining the expertise from ULM and the University of North Texas, the investigators will develop a mapping tool to identify nerve pathways that mediate control of reproduction by a specialized brain energy sensor,” Dr. Briski said. All of this will be done in an effort to improve human and livestock reproductive outcomes.

Dr. Amal K. Kaddoumi, associate professor of Pharmaceutics, received a grant for a project that seeks to identify therapeutics that will target the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in an effort to prevent and/or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Agents that can improve BBB function offer promising new lines of treatment for alleviation of neurodegenerative diseases. Kaddoumi’s research will permit multiple compounds of potential therapeutic value to be screened using an experimental BBB model developed in her ULM laboratory.  

Dr. Seetharama D.S. Jois, associate professor of Medicinal Chemistry, received a grant that will support his research to identify pharmacotherapeutic tools to combat lung cancer. He intends to advance alternative therapies capable of improving lung cancer patient survival rates.

According to Dr. Nick J. Bruno, ULM president, “The research efforts by ULM faculty continue to be a credit to their expertise and commitment to expanding the knowledge and understanding of their respective pursuits. The NIH grants awarded to three of our faculty attest to the high caliber of healthcare research that we value here at ULM.”

For more information about ULM’s School of Pharmacy, please visit ulm.edu/pharmacy.