The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology
has approved nearly $3 million of health research projects.
The 23 projects are expected to attract about $18.5 million of
additional outside funding into the state, said Sheri Stickley,
interim director of OCAST. The projects were approved by the OCAST
The money will fund 23 health research projects over three years.
The amount of first-year funding for the projects totaled $920,243.
The high return on the state investment is directly related to
the high quality of the reviews, said Steve Biggers, OCAST research
and development director. There were 133 applications, the most in
the last decade; this reflects the growing number of Oklahoma health
researchers and the strength of the Oklahoma research sector. This
strength is reflected in the increased amount of federal support the
researchers have obtained.
Stickley, whose appointment was made last week by OCAST's board,
said the strength of the OCAST programs lies in the fact the health
research proposals are ranked by out-of-state peer reviewers who are
recruited by OCAST to determine which projects to fund.
The purpose of the funding is to strengthen the competitiveness
of Oklahoma health researchers for national research funds; recruit
and retain outstanding health research scientists for the state;
improve health care for Oklahomans; and strengthen the state's
health care industry.
Nine of the awards went to researchers who have been in Oklahoma
less than four years and are developing their Oklahoma research
programs and 13 of the awardees are established Oklahoma
Five of the projects will gather and evaluate human and animal
data to solve problems related to Parkinson's disease, the
reproductive aging process, hearing restoration, sleep disorders and
peripheral blood disease.
* Frank R. Boutsen at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences
Center College of Allied Health will assess motor and cognitive
aspects of movement in eye, speech and upper extremity control. This
research will provide insight into Parkinson's disease, motor
control and deep brain stimulation.
* Karl Hansen at the OUHSC Department of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, will study the reproductive aging process in women to
help assess reproductive age.
* Charles Seeney at NanoBioMagnetics Inc. in Edmond will study
implanted magnetically responsive nanoparticles that cause the
middle ear and tympanic membrane to vibrate at acoustic levels when
in an oscillating magnetic field. The study may lead to new
treatment options for the remediation or restoration of hearing
* Han Wang of the University of Oklahoma Department of Zoology
will investigate human sleep disorders. The long-term benefit of
this study will be to provide insight into the mechanisms of human
circadian clocks and to understand the pathogenesis of human sleep
* Andrew Gardner at the OU Department of Health and Sport
Sciences will evaluate a home-based exercise rehabilitation program
for patients with peripheral arterial disease.
Two projects will provide insights into heart and blood problems.
* David Kem at the OUHSC Cardiovascular Arrhythmia Research
Institute is studying a new approach for prevention and treatment of
sudden cardiac death, one of the leading causes of death.
* Randy S. Lewis at the Oklahoma State University School of
Chemical Engineering will investigate a polymeric material for
medical devices that inhibit platelet deposition. Biomedical devices
that contact blood often lose their effectiveness due to surface
deposition of platelets or the formation of blood emboli.
Two projects will explore the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.
* Wei-Qun Ding at the OUHSC Department of Pathology will study
cellular mechanisms of a fatty acid and its effects on tumor cell