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September 25, 2009

Board of Regents supports nearly $165,000 for research at ULM’s College of Pharmacy

A University of Louisiana at Monroe faculty member secured nearly $165,000 in funding from the University of Louisiana System Board of Regents for two separate and diverse projects.

Dr. Seetharama D. Jois, an assistant professor in the Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences in the ULM College of Pharmacy, secured $102,000 in funding for research on the role of CD2 peptides in immunomodulation, responsible for suppressing unwanted immune response in the body.

Jois said that T cells, which defend the body against foreign invaders, sometimes become autoreactive and cannot distinguish between normal cells and foreign cells. This inability to distinguish between the two may cause the destruction of normal, healthy tissues – resulting in the phenomenon of “autoimmune diseases.”

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting nearly one percent of the population in the U.S. alone. In this project, Jois and his team will try to understand the adhesive nature of the proteins that cause autoimmune diseases such as RA.

Jois’ second funded proposal is a $62,250 research enhancement award to purchase a circular dichroism instrument, also known as a CD instrument. The equipment supports and complements the existing facilities for life and pharmaceutical sciences research and teaching in the college.

CD instruments are used to study proteins and peptides and to characterize their conformation in solution. The instrument is particularly useful in drug-protein and protein-DNA interactions.

The instrument will be used by a number of research groups at ULM, thus fostering a collaborative environment, bringing together various aspects of biological, pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry research, said Jois.

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