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rICHARD LAYLORD EVANS AND DOROTHY L. EVANS FOUNDATION SUPPORTING TEMPLE'S DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE
By Greg Fornia, SCT '92
From Temple Review
Wissam Chatila, Associate Professor of Medicine, earned a Temple University School of Medicine Department of Medicine Faculty Development Research Award. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg, Temple University.
Five years ago, Wissam Chatila, Associate Professor of Medicine, was among the first junior faculty members to win a Department of Medicine Faculty Development Research Award. With significant funding from the Richard Laylord Evans and Dorothy L. Evans Foundation, the two-year, $150,000 grant enables junior faculty members to hone their expertise by spending half their time focusing on research.
Chatila used the award to investigate disparities in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Caucasians and African Americans. That earlier research helped to set the stage for his most recent award, a five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to investigate the role that regulatory T cells play in COPD. T cells are part of the body’s immune system, protecting it from inflammation, infections and cancer. In COPD, the T cells might fail to control lung inflammation.
Chatila says that the junior faculty research award, along with mentoring from Temple Professor of Pharmacology Thomas Rogers, was critical in enabling him to win the NIH grant. Rogers believes the work could prove to be very significant. “Dr. Chatila’s research could pay off with substantial information that would affect the delivery of patient care in terms of the development of therapeutics and our general understanding of lung inflammation.”
Since the junior faculty award program began in 2005, seven young faculty members have been able to advance their research careers with the aid of the grants. Not only will their research improve understanding of disease, but it also will enhance the clinical care the School of Medicine provides to patients.
“It’s unlikely that I would have received the NIH grant without first receiving the junior faculty research award,” says Chatila. “With the award, I could really focus on my area of interest, gather preliminary data and build a case for national grants.”
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