Ishmael receives award and $450,000 in funding

Faoud T. Ishmael, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular biology, Penn State College of Medicine, has received a 2011 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Ishmael’s project, “MicroRNAs as Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets in Allergy,” will receive $450,000 in direct funding over three years.

“The purpose of this research is to make clear the role of microRNAs in allergic diseases,” Ishmael said. MicroRNAs are small, noncoding RNAs that regulate the expression of many genes, including mediators involved in allergic inflammation. “This is a particularly exciting field because the expression pattern of microRNAs might be used as biomarkers in disease diagnosis, and microRNAs themselves have the potential to be used as therapeutic agents -- to shut down an inflammatory response for instance.”

The goal of the research is to determine whether these molecules are involved in the development of allergic inflammation, whether they can be used as biomarkers in the diagnosis of allergic disease, and if they might have potential as therapeutic targets.

The Clinical Scientist Development Award (CSDA) provides funding for physician-scientists in the process of establishing their own research teams and enables them to secure 75 percent of their professional time for clinical research. The foundation awarded 16 grants this year to scientists conducting research in a variety of areas including Parkinson’s disease, HIV and Type 1 diabetes.

“Supporting the work of promising investigators while they’re still early in their careers remains critical to keeping the clinical research workforce strong,” said Betsy Myers, director of the medical research program at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “As investigators, physician-scientists face a particularly large challenge: meeting both the demands of seeing patients and conducting research. We hope the CSDA grants help these physician-scientists make a smoother transition into independent clinical research careers.”

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

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Last Updated September 08, 2011