University of Okla.'s Children's Medical Research Institute Genetics Chair Named for Loved One

Article excerpt

In 1982, Claire Duncan survived two and a half months after being born with a rare genetic condition known as Trisomy 13.

Now a $500,000 gift from her family to the Children's Medical Research Institute will be used to establish the CMRI-Claire Gordon Duncan Chair in Pediatric Medical Genetics at the OU Health Sciences Center.

CMRI will match the $500,000 gift from the family of the late Robert D. Gordon, Claire's grandfather. The $1 million from the family and CMRI will be matched by the State Regents Endowment Program to create a $2 million endowment for medical genetics research.

The family donation was presented Blanche Gordon and her two daughters, Peggy Duncan and Holly Elliott. Peggy Duncan was Claire's mother and Blanche Gordon was her grandmother.

"From Claire's memory she teaches us all that, through no one's fault, every one of us has genetic limitations that may impair our health and lifespan a little or a lot," said John J. Mulvihill, CMRI Kimberly V. Talley Chair in medical genetics. "She and we can still make the world a better place. My team promises to perpetuate Claire's message in gratitude for the support her relatives have put forth."

Blanche Gordon first learned about CMRI from Gusty Huffman, a longtime friend and a charter CMRI board member.

"We feel privileged and honored to endow a chair in pediatric genetics to support Dr. Mulvihill's new research program," Blanche Gordon said.

Trisomy 13, also known as Pautau syndrome, occurs in about one out of every 5,000 live births. More than 80 percent of children with Trisomy 13 die in the first month. …