Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
OSU-CHS News > 2014

July 10, 2014

OSU-CHS receives $270,000 in OCAST grants for biomedical research

Davis, left, and Kaul
Davis, left, and Kaul

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences was recently awarded $270,000 in grant funding for biomedical research from the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology. Dr. Randall Davis and Dr. Rashmi Kaul were each awarded $135,000 through the OCAST Health Research program.

“Through the biomedical research efforts at OSU-CHS, our researchers are developing innovative treatments that will impact the health of people around the world,” said OSU-CHS President Kayse Shrum. “The OCAST funding provides financial support that will enable our scientists to make discoveries and contribute to the advancement of health care.”

Davis, director of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and associate professor of pharmacology, is researching a treatment to reduce neuroinflammation, a common symptom of major depressive disorder and a wide range of brain disorders. The project’s results could be effective in developing new drug treatments for these disorders.

The study focuses on a chemical that is typically used to block the effects of painkillers on the nervous system. Davis is building on previous research that showed the compound prevents inflammatory signals from reaching the brain.

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12 percent of Oklahoma adults have some form of depression with about half of those experiencing major depression.

Kaul, associate professor of immunology, is researching the use of diamond nanoparticles in the treatment of urinary tract infections. These infections are commonly treated with antibiotics, but the development of several drug-resistant bacteria strains has created a need for new treatments.

Using preliminary data generated at OSU-CHS and the OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center, an interdisciplinary research team is developing a therapy that utilizes tiny diamond particles to attack the infection. Kaul is leading the team, which includes co-investigators Dr. Anil Kaul, director of clinical laboratories and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at OSU-CHS, and Dr. Raj Singh, Williams Companies Distinguished Chair in Energy Technology and head of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at OSU-Tulsa.

According to the National Institutes of Health, urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body. People who are diabetic have an increased risk for developing UTI and chronic kidney disease. The development of targeted, low-dosage treatments could make a significant impact on Oklahoma's health and economy.

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