OMRF-OUHSC student receives NIH grant

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 By: The Journal Record Staff Source: The Journal Record

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation researcher and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center student Christopher Hoover has received a Ruth L. Kirschstein-National Research Service Award.

He is the second Oklahoman to have received the award since its creation 30 years ago.

Named for Kirschstein, the first woman institute director at the National Institutes of Health, the award is presented to students focused on both research and clinical training and pursuing a dual-doctoral degree, or M.D./Ph.D., on their path to a career as a physician-scientist.

Lijun Xia, Hoover’s current supervisor at OMRF and also an M.D./Ph.D., said dual degrees are important to fill the gap between the worlds of research and medicine and play a critical role in the scientific enterprise.

“We need more people who can use their medical expertise in combination with basic science,” said Xia, chair of OMRF’s Cardiovascular Biology Research Program.

The four-year, $155,000 grant will allow Hoover, a Sapulpa native, to study the role of platelets in blood vessel development in the brain.

“The grant puts me in a great position for my research and also helps to lessen the financial load on OMRF, which has supported my work with Dr. Lijun Xia,” said Hoover. “This dual degree allows for integration of work done in the clinic with work in the lab to better treat and research disease. That’s important to the future development of successful therapies.”

Brandt Esplin, a student who worked at OMRF in 2008, is the only other Oklahoman to have received the award.

The grant is funded through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the NIH.

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