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UK Researchers Attract Record Amount in FY 2005

UniversityChart showing steady increase in research grants & contracts: from $173.6 million in 2001 to $274 million in 2005 of Kentucky faculty researchers brought in a record $274 million in grants and contracts in FY 2005. That’s a 15 percent increase over last year and the fourth year in a row that UK has exceeded $200 million.

“Securing grants and contracts is an extremely competitive and arduous process,” says Wendy Baldwin, UK’s executive vice president for research. “The achievement of UK faculty is even more remarkable when you consider how slow the growth has been for research budgets at the federal level in recent years.”

Baldwin cited the importance of research at UK in meeting challenges that confront the state.

“From early intervention efforts on behalf of children with disabilities to the development of new pharmaceuticals and therapies,” Baldwin says, “our research is making a difference in the lives of Kentuckians.”

FY 05 Selected Research Highlights

UK began a $2 million NSF project to recruit, retain and graduate Appalachian and minority science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. The STEM project is under the direction of Robert Tannenbaum (undergraduate education), Carl Eberhart (mathematics) and Jeffrey Osborn (biology).

Working with scientists at Ohio State University, Russell Mumper, associate director of UK’s Center for Pharmaceutical Science & Technology, has developed freeze-dried black raspberry gels for oral and topical cancer chemoprevention. In a new study, 20 patients with oral lesions will receive treatment with the gels to see if the berries inhibit cancer growth.

Peter Nagy, a professor of plant pathology currently backed by grants from both NSF and NIH, is using Tombusviruses, RNA viruses of plants, to identify the players and unravel the mechanism of virus replication. RNA replication is the central process in viral infections and leads to the production of millions of progeny viruses in infected cells. Better understanding of virus replication will lead to improved antiviral strategies and enhanced resistance against viral diseases in plants.

Two UK colleges were awarded over $20 million in Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grants from NIH, which will enable the university to be more competitive in seeking future research funding and attracting top faculty and graduate students. Jeffrey Ebersole will oversee the College of Dentistry COBRE and the researchers who will investigate how oral diseases affect other health problems, including HIV, atherosclerosis and gestational diabetes. Louis Hersh, COBRE program director for the College of Medicine, will work with researchers in molecular and cellular biochemistry on diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease projects.

For more on UK’s FY 2005 sponsored project awards, go to www.research.uky.edu/numbers.

In Brief section as pdf (6 pages)