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UTHSC Professor Receives $1.6 Million Grant to Study Gut Infections


Anjaparavanda Naren, PhD Studying How Cellular Function in the Gut Induces Diarrhea

Memphis, Tenn. (March 6, 2013) – Contrary to scatological humor, diarrhea is no laughing matter. According to the World Health Organization, diarrhea,
which is frequently caused by gastrointestinal infections, kills more than 2 million people globally every year, mostly children in developing nations.
Anjaparavanda Naren, PhD, professor in the Physiology Department at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), wants to determine how
inhibition of function in the epithelial cells in the gut induces diarrhea. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of
the National Institutes of Health, recently awarded Dr. Naren with a $1,667,629 grant to pursue this vital research. The award will be distributed over a
five-year period.

“Our primary goal is to make a long-term contribution in understanding gastrointestinal disorders related to diarrheal diseases,” said Dr. Naren. He and
his research team (Weiqiang Zhang, PhD, Aixia Ren, PhD, Chang Suk Moon, PhD, Sunitha Yarlagadda, MSc, Kavisha Arora, BTech, Chandrima Sinha, MPharm) will
focus on

a novel mechanism of how protein to protein interactions can contribute to the progression of ulcerative colitis-related (UC-related) diarrhea. In this
study, Dr. Naren’s group proposes that the inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS) protein expression is increased in UC-affected gut and can present itself
as a protein, which engages in a novel interaction profile. This can trigger cellular, biochemical and molecular events that are not seen in normal cells,
leading to excessive chloride secretion and thus diarrheal symptoms.

By targeting this macromolecular complex, Dr. Naren’s group will find ways to control fluid secretion and thereby control or cure the disease.

The mission of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is to conduct and support medical research and research
training and to disseminate science-based information on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders,
and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases, to improve people’s health and quality of life. NIDDK is one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

[Research supported by NIDDK of the NIH under award number R01DK080834. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily
represent the official views of NIH.]

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.