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ECU pediatrician earns clinical scientist award from NIH

Dr. Jamal Mustafa, left, a pharmacologist, will mentor research by Dr. R. Ray Morrison, a pediatrician, as part of an NIH grant. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Sept. 3, 2003)   —   A pediatrician at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has won the highly competitive National Institutes of Health Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award supported through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Dr. R. Ray Morrison, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, has received a five-year award for $623,325. Morrison will work in the lab of Dr. Jamal Mustafa, a professor of pharmacology.

The grant supports research on a detailed scientific program and is awarded with the objective of advancing the scientific training and research career development of the principal investigator (Morrison) under the direct mentorship of an established scientist in the field of interest (Mustafa).

During his project, Morrison will continue his previous research with Mustafa on the role of adenosine in the regulation of blood flow to the heart. Adenosine is a chemical that the body releases to increase blood flow by opening blood vessels after injury. Morrison will focus on adenosine and its receptors after injury to the heart.

"We're examining the mechanisms of how the heart protects itself from the lack of blood flow. This happens in heart attacks when the person collapses over while shoveling snow," Morrison said. "As a critical care pediatrician, I've cared for children who have nearly drowned, who are post-heart surgery and who are in shock from car accidents. This research correlates directly to what I do in the hospital."

Morrison and Mustafa said their research has the potential to develop new drugs for low-blood flow, or ischemia, to the heart.


Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 252-744-2481