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January 7, 2013

ULM pharmacy professor awarded grant for disease research

The Louisiana Board of Regents, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), awarded a ULM pharmacy professor $10,000 for research that will enhance understanding of the causes of cancer and neurological disease.

Dr. Chris Gissendanner, an associate professor for basic pharmaceutical sciences at ULM, developed the proposal, “Signaling activity and tissue-specific functions of the novel eLRR protein PAN-1 in C. elegans.”

Gissendanner explained, "This project is a new research direction for my lab; it will expand my discoveries of the developmental roles of a unique protein type that is involved in human disease, including cancer and neurological diseases.”

This protein is a member of a diverse superfamily of proteins called extracellular leucine-rich repeat proteins, or eLRRPs, which have many essential cellular functions.

The interaction of these proteins in the development of an organism is largely unknown, Gissendanner said.

"This project will generate new data that will advance our understanding of their role in human development and disease. This new award will provide funds to further the research project and generate new data that will form the basis of future federal grant proposals."

College of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Benny Blaylock expressed the importance of Gissendanner's work. 

"This research continues Dr. Gissendanner's investigation into basic functional relationships between protein regulatory activity in both normal development and disease at the molecular and cellular levels. The information from this project will provide data that will enhance our understanding of disease pathogenesis."

According to the Louisiana Board of Regents Office of Sponsored Programs and Research website, EPSCoR is designed to build and expand the science and engineering research, education, and technology capabilities in states that have historically received lesser amounts of federal research and development funding.

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