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More than 300 people attend a presentation by Nobel laureate Ferid Murad, MD, PhD, who provided the keynote address at the largest Health Sciences Research Day ever at MU.

Nobel Laureate Shows How Research Led to Drug Discovery, Development

Presentations and awards part of largest Health Sciences Research Day

More than 30 years ago, a physician-scientist made a discovery that would forever change how nitric oxide and its role in biological processes were understood and studied. It 1998, he shared in the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the gas served as a key signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Nobel Laureate Ferid Murad, MD, PhD, visited the University of Missouri and presented "The Role of Nitric Oxide and Cyclic GMP in Drug Discovery and Development" on Nov. 15, 2012, in the MU School of Medicine.

Ferid Murad

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Murad share his journey of discovering some of the most important biological effects of nitric oxide. His work has served as the catalyst for thousands of research papers and continues to influence how scientists worldwide study and develop drugs for a number of diseases," said Jamal Ibdah, MD, PhD, director of the MU Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and senior associate dean for research at the MU School of Medicine.

Murad's lecture about a type of gas that can regulate a growing list of processes, such as how the body fights bacteria and regulates heart and brain function, was part of MU's 2012 Health Sciences Research Day. A record number students – more than 140 – participated by displaying posters of their research findings for evaluation by faculty judges on Nov. 15 at the MU School of Medicine. Held annually since the 1980s, Health Sciences Research Day's poster displays, lectures and awards provide a forum for original research and educational innovations by undergraduate, medical, nursing and health professions students, as well as graduate students and postdoctoral trainees.

"Health Sciences Research Day is an increasingly popular event that puts some of MU's best and brightest students in the spotlight," said Jerry Parker, PhD, co-director of MU's Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and associate dean for research at the MU School of Medicine. "We take great pride in our students' growing interest in health sciences research, which might ultimately develop into new treatments and better lives for patients."

Scott Rector

The Dorsett L. Spurgeon, MD, Distinguished Medical Research Award was also presented during Health Sciences Research Day. The annual award recognizes medical school faculty scientists early in their careers. This year's recipient is R. Scott Rector, PhD, assistant professor of gastroenterology, nutrition and exercise physiology. He received a $5,000 cash award and delivered a presentation during an award ceremony. Immediately following his address, students and faculty mentors were recognized for their award-winning poster presentations and research abstracts.

Rector studies the molecular mechanisms responsible for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. While the disease has become much more common due to increases in obesity, the factors that trigger its progression and effective treatment strategies remain poorly defined.

Murad joined the George Washington University faculty in 2011 as director of the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Signaling. He also teaches an undergraduate course, mentors graduate and medical students, and leads a laboratory.

After completion of his bachelor's degree in premedical science and chemistry at DePauw University, Murad studied in one of the first physician-scientist training programs, earning his MD-PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1965. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and continued his training in a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Murad's career as a physician-scientist has included serving: on the faculty at the University of Virginia (1970-1981), where he was director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology; as chief of medicine at Palo Alto Veterans Hospital (1981-1988); as chair of medicine at Stanford University (1986-1988); and as vice president of research and development at Abbott Laboratories (1988-1993). Murad was chair of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (1997-2005), as well as director (1999-2007) and director emeritus (2007-2010) of the Institute of Molecular Medicine. He has advised approximately 140 trainees in his laboratories, and founded or advised many biotechnology companies over the years.

Murad has received numerous honors and distinctions, including the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award; American Heart Association Ciba Award; Association of American Medical Colleges Baxter Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences; American Society of Clinical Pharmacology Distinguished Research Prize; and President's Scholar Award from the UT-Houston Health Science Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and many foreign academies, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Murad has received 13 honorary degrees and has more than 400 publications.

Murad's visit to MU, part of the Chancellor's Distinguished Visitors Program, marks the second year in a row that the university's clinical and translational science community has welcomed a Nobel laureate to campus. Roger Tsien, PhD, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008, participated in MU's translational neuroscience symposium in 2011.

Health Sciences Research Day is organized by the MU Institute for Clinical and Translational Science in partnership with the MU School of Medicine, MU Sinclair School of Nursing, MU School of Health Professions and Truman Veterans Hospital.

Click here to download a high-resolution portrait of Murad.
Click here to download a high-resolution portrait of Rector.

MU Health Magazine


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