UTHSC Associate professor awarded $200,000 Innovative Research Grant from Arthritis Foundation
Memphis, Tenn. (February 19, 2013) – Innovation and scientific research would seem to go hand in hand, but researchers are not always recognized for
unique approaches to their areas of study. That’s not the case for Ae-Kyung Yi, PhD, who was awarded a $200,000 Innovative Research Grant from the
Arthritis Foundation. The funds will be dispersed over two years.
“The funds will permit me to pursue a novel method of targeting the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis,” said Dr. Yi, an associate
professor in Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). It is believed that signals sent through proteins called
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are responsible for triggering rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Protein kinase D1 (PKD1), one of the newly discovered key signaling components in the TLR pathway, is the subject of Dr. Yi’s study. She is developing
a specific inhibitor for PKD1, and examining the efficacy of delivering PKD1 straight into patients’ inflamed joints. “Nanotechnology will be used to
deliver a PKD1 inhibitor directly into painful joints. Delivery of therapy directly to the site of inflammation is more effective and much safer,
having fewer side effects than many traditional therapies,” Dr. Yi explained.
The Arthritis Foundation
is the world’s largest private nonprofit funder of arthritis research.
As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring
the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by
pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate and selected
baccalaureate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry,
Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains cohorts of medicine, pharmacy and/or allied health students —
in addition to medical residents and fellows — at its major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. Founded in 1911, during its more than 100
years, UT Health Science Center has educated and trained more than 53,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care facilities
across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.