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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 07/23/01
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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State of Ohio Gives Eminent Scholar Awards to UC

Cincinnati--The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine's Department of Molecular Genetics and Department of Pediatrics each received a $743,000 Ohio Eminent Scholar Award. UC College of Medicine received two of the seven Eminent Scholar Awards that were announced by Chancellor Rod Chu, Ohio Board of Regents, and Ohio Governor Robert Taft yesterday.

"UC's researchers are among the nation's best and we are pleased to have the opportunity to attract two more Eminent Scholars with these awards," said Robert Highsmith, associate dean and director for the UC College of Medicine Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The awards mark the first time in a decade that the Eminent Scholars Awards program has been announced and funded. UC College of Medicine will match the funds from the state with $500,000. One Eminent Scholar Award will be used by the UC Department of Molecular Genetics to recruit a renowned X-ray crystallographer who will develop a center in structural biology. The other award will be used by UC's Department of Pediatrics to recruit a developmental neurobiologist who will work at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

UC College of Medicine has two previous Eminent Scholars. John Dedman, PhD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology, studies the function of calcium mediator proteins (called calmodulin and annexins) for a better understanding of muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, heart arrhythmias, hypertension, and even the cellular brain damage caused by stroke. John Monaco, PhD, professor of molecular genetics, is credited with discovering the function of a group of genes that control a cell's ability to benefit from the protection of the body's immune system. There is genetic evidence that the region of human DNA containing Monaco's transporter genes is associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis and Type I diabetes.

Currently there are 36 Ohio Eminent Scholars at six Ohio universities. The $7.95 million Ohio Eminent Scholars program is designed to provide endowed faculty chair positions at Ohio universities as a means to foster national/international visibility for the quality of the academic program as well as their research accomplishments. In doing so, the program is used as a tool to enhance Ohio's economic development, strengthen Ohio's system of K-12 education and improve public health and safety. The program will bring creative abilities to Ohio for the purpose of sparking new research and other 21st century economic advances. This benefits students, the workforce and the state's economy.

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