Present and Future

Gabor J. Tigyi Awarded More Than $2.3 Million for Drug Discovery Study

Memphis, Tenn. (October 8, 2009) Gabor J. Tigyi, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has been awarded $2,321,862 to study preclinical development of a new drug that protects from radiation injury. The two-year grant runs through 2011. Dr. Tigyi will focus on studies enabling the filing of a new investigational drug application with the Food and Drug Administration.

The Grand Opportunity (GO) Grant Program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The 75 GO grants awarded support large-scale research projects that accelerate critical breakthroughs, cutting-edge technologies, and new approaches to improve the synergy and interactions among multi- and interdisciplinary research teams. The initiative sought novel approaches that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. The grant funds are being channeled through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Tigyi will serve as principal investigator for the grant.

"Receiving one of the 75 GO grants is the ultimate recognition of a decade-long drug discovery research program that involves a collaboration with the groups of Dr. Abby Parrill at the University of Memphis, Dr. Duane Miller in the College of Pharmacy at the Health Science Center, Dr. Koen Van Rompay at the University of California Davis, and Dr. Veeresa Gududuru at RxBio, Inc., in Memphis. We were surprised to read the comment of one reviewer of our proposal who called us the 'dream team'," said Dr. Tigyi.

A member of the UTHSC College of Medicine faculty for 17 years, Dr. Tigyi has held the Harriet S. Van Vleet Professorship in Medical Oncology since 2006. Under his leadership the UTHSC Physiology Department earned and has maintained its position among the top 10 departments of physiology in the nation, measured by research grant funding.

In 1986 Dr. Tigyi discovered lipid molecules that regulate cell growth, launching an entire new field of research that today is a "hot" area of research around the world. He is currently working on four other NIH grants to explore the biomedical application of the lipid mediators he studies. Recognized internationally and widely published, he also enjoys an ongoing Visiting Professorship at Hokkaido University, Japan. He received his medical degree from the University Medical School of Pecs, Hungary, and holds a PhD in cellular and molecular biology.