Oklahoma's Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology
has approved more than $3 million of health research projects.
The projects are expected to bring another $15 million into the
state in private and federal funding for health research. The money
will fund 24 health research projects over three years. The amount
of first-year funding for the projects totals $1.1 million, said
William A. Sibley, executive director of OCAST. The latest round of
funding attracted 106 Oklahoma research applications.
"Under our peer review process, every proposal is reviewed and
applicants receive valuable suggestions from out-of-state scientists
for improving their applications for the next competition," Sibley
said. "This practice serves to improve the national standing of
Oklahomans in the highly competitive arena of research funding."
Out-of-state peer reviewers who typically review at national
funding agencies are recruited by OCAST to determine which projects
Several of the awardees will work on problems relating to women's
* Wen Xuan Wu of the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center
will conduct a study of the roles of progesterone and estrogen in
ovine parturition. This study will help define the precise pathway
for triggering premature labor.
* Satish Kumar of the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center
will investigate Tamm-Horsfall Protein as a natural defense
mechanism for urinary tract infection, a common disease of human
females. The Tamm-Horsfall protein may play a role in defending
against this infection.
* Edralin Lucas of Oklahoma State University will investigate the
daily intake of flaxseed to help reduce total and LDL cholesterol.
In Oklahoma, the risk of cardiovascular disease is higher than the
national average for Native American women.
* Brian Ceresa of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences
Center will gain a better understanding of the molecular pathology
of cervical cancer, which is one of the leading causes of female
The of the recipients will be working in genomics research.
* Marvin Whiteley of the University of Oklahoma will study
biofilm gene expression at the single cell level and investigate in
vivo biofilm gene expression. Bacteria in nature often attach to
surfaces as biofilm communities, making the bacteria highly
resistant to host defenses and antibiotics.
* Nathan Shankar of the Oklahoma University Health Sciences
Center will study genome plasticity and mobility in virulent
enterococci. The results of this work may lead to new antiinfectives
and serve to control entercoccal infections.
* Ute Hochgeschwender of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
proposes to generate embryonic stem cell lines from mice as a model
for Down syndrome. Conclusions about the role of individual genes in
the pathogenesis of specifics of Down syndrome should be possible.
Public health issues from binge drinking to the use of
antibiotics in cattle feed are research issues for other recipients.
* Paul Cook of the University of Oklahoma will work on a project
designed to find a safe pathway for the elimination of roundworms
which infect 40 percent of the world's population.
* Guoliang Fan of Oklahoma State University will study advanced
retinal imaging. This research could lead to a rapid screening
technique that can be performed by non-physicians to screen at-risk
patients for this disease.
* Thad Leffingwell of Oklahoma State University will study high-
risk alcohol use prevention for college students. The purpose of the
study is to develop an effective multimedia intervention.
* Wai Tak Yip of the University of Oklahoma will study the
development of protein/sol-gel composite biosensors. This study will
explore protein-silica interaction in biosensors that will have
broad implications relevant to the monitoring of drugs, metabolites,
and pathogenic bacteria in medical, agricultural and food