COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Dr. Ghanshyam Heda, professor of biology at Mississippi University for Women, has received a $55,000 grant from the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) to aid student research related to cystic fibrosis. This is the eighth consecutive year for his research to be funded.

“Renewal of grants on a continuous basis is very important for uninterrupted research, training of students and overall productivity of my research lab,” Heda said, noting that this renewal will allow him to give finishing touches to one undergraduate student research project and take two more projects to the next level.

Heda joined The W in 2008, where he has led student research, seeking better treatment for cystic fibrosis patients.

According to Heda, currently three research projects are in progress with an overall goal to identify drug reagents that can help cystic fibrosis patients.

“One of the analytical techniques for analysis of defective CF-causing protein (called CFTR) is almost complete and we are looking forward to its publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Students are making progress on another RNA- based analytical technique that can be useful in analysis of patient specimens,” said Heda.

“We were able to detect mRNA for CFTR in endogenous cell lines, meaning that this finding may turn out to be a good diagnostic tool for CF patients.”

Undergraduate students mostly majoring in biology are major contributors to the progress made in his various research projects. Currently, two undergraduate senior biology majors are working on two independent projects under the supervision of Heda. Shreya Ghimire is determining the effects of therapeutic reagents in a cultured cell model using the techniques of immunohistochemistry. Lisa Shrestha is giving final touches to an analytical technique for the analysis of CFTR protein.

The research funding has greatly impacted the classroom experience of biology students at The W. Heda said the students are doing not only well in their classroom, but also becoming confident, developing their writing and presentation skills and successfully obtaining admissions into graduate and medical schools.

In addition to the renewal of research funds, Mississippi-INBRE also approved Heda’s request of about $14,500 to upgrade a state-of-the-art analytical scanner, called Azur Biosystem c300 that was acquired about a year ago.

This work was supported by the Mississippi INBRE, funded by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103476. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences or the National Institutes of Health.

Editor’s note: This work was supported by the Mississippi-INBRE funded by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. P20GM103476)

Feb. 21, 2018
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