PVM Faculty Receive Support from Showalter Research Trust

Friday, December 8, 2023

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The three honorees hold up their certificates smiling as they are joined by Drs. Plaut and Moe for a group photo.
Dr. Karen Plaut, executive vice president for research; Dr. Cankui Zhang, associate professor of agronomy; Dr. Marxa Figueiredo, associate professor of basic medical sciences; Dr. Jennifer Freeman, professor of toxicology; and Dr. Sharon M. Moe, the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust Chair.

The Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust annually provides funding to Purdue in support of scientific and medical research. This year, several Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty members are among the beneficiaries.

The college’s own Dr. Marxa Figueiredo, associate professor of basic medical sciences, has been appointed as a 2023 Showalter Faculty Scholar. Dr. Figueiredo conducts research that spans the fields of gene delivery and osteo-immune biology interactions among different cellular and preclinical models of disease. She is one of only three Purdue faculty members to receive a 2023 Showalter Faculty Scholar appointment.

Dr. Figueiredo’s lab is working to understand the interactions between the skeletal and immune systems to develop novel therapeutic applications. Dr. Figueiredo’s focus is on integrating biological mechanisms to facilitate strategies that use the immune system to simultaneously promote bone restoration while altering immune responses that control inflammation or cell viability. Her lab’s therapeutic modalities build on multifunctional osteo-immune cytokines, which can be targeted to bone or inflammatory cells to cause regenerative effects.

In addition to selecting midcareer professionals as Showalter Faculty Scholars, in partnership with the University Faculty Scholars program, the Showalter Trust also provides one-year funding for early career professionals. This year 12 early career faculty members, including three in the College of Veterinary Medicine, received 2023 research grants of $75,000 each. The one-year grants for early career faculty members are the centerpiece of Showalter funding at Purdue. The three PVM faculty members receiving grants are:

  • Christopher Rice, PhD, assistant professor of comparative pathobiology, for a project entitled, “Central Nervous System (CNS) permeable drug discovery against pathogenic free-living amoebae causing meningitis disease in humans.”
  • Shankar Thangamani, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of comparative pathobiology, for a project entitled, “Microbiota regulation of candida auris skin colonization.”
  • Ranjie Xu, PhD, assistant professor of basic medical sciences, for a project entitled, “Dissecting human microglial function in Alzheimer’s disease using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based human microglial models.”

Projects were chosen by the external Showalter Trust Selection Committee after review by an internal Purdue committee. The Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust has supported Purdue researchers for more than 40 years in priority research areas of environmental science; biochemistry and molecular biology; disease prevention, diagnosis, progression, treatment, and control; new technologies for food production, preservation, distribution, and safety; and medical and biophysical instrumentation. Click here for more information about the current competition for the Showalter Trust early career grants program.

Writer(s): Emily Stevenson, Purdue Marketing and Communications | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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