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Pitt Researcher Receives Decade of Funding from NIH

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Cynthia Patton

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The University of Pittsburgh’s Mark Shlomchik, M.D., Ph.D., has been awarded a 10-year, $3.8 million MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will provide long-term support for research into autoimmune diseases and the body’s immune response.

Dr. Shlomchik, professor and chair of the Department of Immunology in Pitt’s School of Medicine, and colleagues have studied lupus and other autoimmune diseases for decades, making significant contributions to current understanding of the biology of these diseases, which are difficult to treat.

A MERIT Award provides long-term grant support to investigators whose research competence and productivity are distinctly superior, as well as those who are highly likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner, according to the NIH.

“This award is in recognition of the progress we’ve made in understanding how the immune system attacks the body to cause autoimmune diseases such as lupus, as well as what regulates these diseases and what makes them worse,” Dr. Shlomchik said. “Since these are complex diseases, our work, which uses genetically modified mice, takes significant time and effort. The 10 years of this MERIT Award will truly make it possible to advance our understanding of autoimmune diseases using the new tools we plan to make.”

Other Pitt investigators with MERIT Awards are: Bernard Devlin, Jr., Ph.D. (Psychiatry, School of Medicine); Lori Birder, Ph.D. (Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, School of Medicine); Bruce Freeman, Ph.D. (Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, School of Medicine); Anthony Grace, Ph.D. (Neuroscience, Deitrich School of Arts and Sciences); Gregg Homanics, Ph.D. (Anesthesiology, School of Medicine); Thomas Kleyman, M.D. (Nephrology, School of Medicine); Jay Kolls, M.D. (Pediatrics, School of Medicine); Brooke Molina, Ph.D. (Psychiatry, School of Medicine); and Trevor Orchard, M.D. (Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health).

“This is yet another recognition of the substantial contributions University of Pittsburgh scientists and physicians make to advance our understanding of biomedical science, and to improve clinical care,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine.