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For immediate use

March 22, 2002 -- No. 172

School of Pharmacy research team awarded $430,000 NIH grant

CHAPEL HILL -- Faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy will acquire innovative technology for AIDS and pharmacology research, thanks to a new grant of $430,000 from the National Institutes of Health.

The Shared Instrumentation Grant has been awarded to a team of School of Pharmacy researchers, including Drs. Angela Kashuba, J. Ed Hall and Gary Pollack, and School of Medicine researcher Dr. Richard Tidwell, the grantís principal investigator.

Tidwell and Kashuba are co-directors of the pharmacology core of the UNC Center for AIDS Research, or CFAR. The one-year grant will be used to purchase a cutting-edge triple quadropole mass spectrophotometer capable of measuring very low drug concentrations in limited sample volumes -- crucial to AIDS drug research.

CFAR will share dedicated use of the technology with the School of Pharmacy.

"This instrument is state-of-the-art in industry for pharmacology research," said Kashuba, "and investigators at the university need to be working at the same level."

A pharmacologist for the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group and board member of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, Kashuba is investigating the role of antiretroviral therapy in preventing the transmission of HIV. Kashuba and Hall will prioritize use of this new technology for CFAR investigations, and Pollack will direct its use by School of Pharmacy faculty.

Multiple instruments of this caliber are unusual within university settings, officials said. One spectrophotometer currently is in use on the UNC campus, though its applications are very different from the research of CFAR investigators. The new, dedicated instrument will allow for new collaborations with HIV-AIDS scientists worldwide.

Kashuba and her colleagues in clinical pharmacology will make use of at least 60 percent of the instrumentís time, the rest to be shared with School of Pharmacy researchers. The spectrophotometer will be housed at the School of Pharmacyís new Kerr Hall annex, which is set to open in fall 2002.

Funds to operate and maintain the instrument have been committed by the schools of pharmacy and medicine.

The NIH instrument grant programís objective is to make available expensive research technology utilized in clinical research on a shared-use basis. Applications are limited to instruments that cost at least $100,000 per instrument, and the maximum award is $500,000.

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Note: Contact Kashuba at (919) 966-9998 or akashuba@unc.edu.
Contact Tidwell at (919) 966-4294 or richard.tidwell@pathology.unc.edu.

News Services contact: Deb Saine at (919) 962-8415