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Four projects receive $275,500 in Brody Brothers research grants

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Jan. 6, 2006)   —   Four research projects led by faculty at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University have received $275,500 in grants from the Brody Brothers Foundation Endowment Fund.

The grants were made possible through the income from an endowment established at the Medical Foundation of ECU by the Brody Brothers Foundation.

"The awarding of these grants is a true benefit to these researchers," said Dr. John Lehman, associate dean for research and graduate studies at the medical school and associate vice chancellor for research for the ECU Division of Health Sciences. "When research projects are awarded funds from the university or another entity, it always reflects well on the project when the researchers apply for much larger funding from the National Institutes of Health or similar organizations.

"These preliminary studies funded today will lead to data and research papers published in journals and thus, in turn, lead to national grants," Lehman added.

The following research projects were awarded grants:

--Metformin in Secondary Prevention of Obesity in Adolescents, $15,500. Investigators are Dr. David Collier, Department of Pediatrics (principal investigator); Dr. Lynis Dohm, Department of Physiology; Dr. Joe Houmard, Department of Exercise and Sports Science; and Dr. Doyle "Skip" Cummings, Department of Family Medicine. The grant will allow Collier and his colleagues to complete preliminary data on the medication metformin, which is used to regulate blood glucose levels. Collier will apply for a much larger grant in the future to continue his work in adolescent obesity.

--Metabolomics Core Facility, $80,000. Investigators are Drs. Robert Tanenberg, Hisham Barakat and Christopher Newton, Department of Internal Medicine; Dr. Lynis Dohm, Department of Physiology; Drs. Walter Pories and Eric Toschlog, Department of Surgery; Drs. Joe Houmard and Robert Hickner, Department of Exercise and Sports Science; Dr. Terry Jones, Department of Physical Therapy; Collier and Cummings.

--Development of a Prostate Cancer Research Program, $90,000. Investigators are Drs. Fred Bertrand, James McCubrey and David Terrian, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. "This will be a molecular biology approach to studying prostate cancer. These researchers have an ongoing research relationship; they will be a cohesive force focused on this significant problem in older males," Lehman said.

--Improving Laparoscopic Surgical Skills Using an Advanced Surgical Simulator, $90,000. Investigators are Drs. Todd Beste and Keith Nelson, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This grant will purchase a state-of-the-art medical simulator to train physicians and medical students in performing laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, obstetric and gynecological surgery. The advantages to patients -- reduced hospital stays and less trauma to the body -- are well-documented, Lehman said. The researchers will also gather data to apply for future grant applications.

Hyman Brody along with his cousin David Brody represented the Brody Brothers Foundation on the committee.

"It's our hope that this research will bring notable results that will allow future research to occur on the national level or at the university level in these areas," Hyman Brody said. "This is 'seed money' to get the research going and then hopefully catapult it to the national level to lead other grant awards. We're excited that we can play a role in this."

The Brody Brothers Foundation Endowment fund was established in 1999 when the Brody family of eastern North Carolina donated $7 million to fund research projects at the medical school for cancer, diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular disease and other health problems prevalent in eastern North Carolina. With that gift, Morris and Lorraine Brody also gave $1 million to fund merit scholarships at the m


Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 252-744-2481