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Tulane Auxiliary Supports Early Career Faculty

June 22, 2005

Fran Simon
Phone: 504-247-1425

fsimon@tulane.edu

The Tulane University Health Sciences Center Auxiliary has endowed four early career faculty members with Excellence in Research and Teaching Awards.

"The special endowments recognize teaching and research by early career faculty members," says Janet Krane, president of the auxiliary. "They were created from funds generated by members of the auxiliary through the organization's Gift Shop and Espresso Bar in the Aron Pavilion of the Tulane University Hospital and Clinic. We sell a lot of coffee and a lot of gifts, and we believe strongly that the purpose of the auxiliary is to support the Health Science Center's educational mission."

Every three years, four recipients will be selected for a three-year funding award. The dean of the School of Medicine designates two recipients (one for excellence in teaching and one for excellence in research); the dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine designates a recipient for excellence in research; and the director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center designates a recipient for excellence in research. Frank Jones is the first recipient of the Endowment for Excellence in Teaching in the School of Medicine.

Jones designed the "Foundations in Human Molecular and Cellular Biology," course. An assistant professor of biochemistry, Jones received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to research the potential of a gene receptor to act as a cancer suppressor. An absence of this gene receptor, which occurs naturally on the surface of breast cells, has been associated with breast cancer progression and more aggressive spread of the cancer.
Fruzsina K. Johnson is the first recipient of the Endowment for Excellence in Research in the School of Medicine. An assistant professor of physiology, Johnson is studying how carbon monoxide and nitric oxide - two gases released by the lining of the blood vessels - interact to regulate vascular function and blood pressure. Johnson is a junior faculty investigator of the Tulane Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Hypertension and Renal Biology, funded by a multi-million-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Sohail Agha, research associate professor in international health and development, is the first recipient of the Endowment for Excellence in Research in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Her research project, "Religion and Sexual Initiation in Zambia," is an initial investigation exploring conservative religious groups that excommunicate members for engaging in premarital sex and are opposed to condom use.

Cristian Apetrei, a researcher in the Division of Microbiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, is the first recipient of the Excellence in Research Award for the primate center. Apetrei is using the endowment to advance research into diversity and pathogenesis of HIV and SIV, simian immunodeficiency virus.

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