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October 8, 2010

ULM College of Pharmacy taps into state grant funding to help build biomedical research pipeline for Louisiana

Three ULM professors are immersed in research at the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences and are funded through the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, or LBRN, designed to strengthen the state's biomedical research infrastructure and workforce.

The funding connects predominantly undergraduate universities, including ULM and others throughout the state, with biomedical research-intensive universities such as LSU, creating a pipeline of needed future research scientists.

The three ULM faculty members whose work is funded through LBRN are Drs. Yong-Yu Liu, Amal Kaddoumi and Seetharama D. Satyanarayana-jois.

Liu, an assistant professor of pharmacology at ULM, is seeking to isolate and identify drug-resistant breast cancer stem cells from cancer cells treated with anticancer drugs. His work is funded through April 2012.

Kaddoumi, an assistant professor of pharmaceutics at ULM, is researching the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease, by identifying and studying certain proteins that hold promise as potential drug targets for treatment and/or prevention of the disease. Her project is slated to run through September 2011.

Satyanarayana-jois, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at ULM, spends his time researching a cancer-producing protein, HER-2, which is produced in large amounts on the surface of cells of certain types of breast cancer. Jois and his assistants fight a virtual war with the protein by creating cancer-killing molecules on computers and studying the structure of those molecules as potential drugs for breast cancer. His project runs through April 2011

The Louisiana program was established in September 2000 with Biomedical Research Infrastructure Networks, or BRIN, funding from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources grant.

"The LBRN programs help provide an increasingly diverse pool of both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty, while it also encourages collaborative research activities. The quality of research funded by this program at the ULM College of Pharmacy is outstanding and has excellent potential to provide fundamental answers to therapeutic problems" said Interim College of Pharmacy Dean Benny Blaylock.

Researchers and students at these schools are paired with mentors and collaborators at the state's biomedical research-intensive centers, including LSU, LSU Health Sciences Centers in Shreveport and New Orleans, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the Tulane Medical Center and the Tulane National Primate Research Center.

The program also includes an extensive summer research-training program from undergraduates and graduate students and includes students from 23 institutions in the state.

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