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CONTACT: PATRICIA CAIN
Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations
500 Alumni Center
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305
e-mail: patricia-cain@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

W. M. Keck Foundation gives $1 million for biological research at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa--A $1 million grant by the W. M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles to the University of Iowa Foundation will provide funding to continue the development of equipment that allows UI researchers to visually enter and analyze moving cells. The funding will help UI researchers remain worldwide leaders in this promising area, which has important applications for cancer and AIDS research.

The Keck grant will enable scientists to expand the UI's dynamic image analysis system, which was developed by researchers in the UI department of biological sciences, led by David R. Soll, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust/Emil Witschi Professor of Biological Sciences. The analysis system produces computer-enhanced images of living, moving cells in three dimensions. The grant will also help train scientists from all over the world to use and apply the dynamic imaging systems.

"This grant will allow Dr. Soll and his team to maintain their impressive momentum," UI President Mary Sue Coleman said. "Their work has exciting implications for biomedical research and is greatly expanding our knowledge of HIV, AIDS, and related conditions. We are extremely grateful to the Keck Foundation for its generosity and foresight in funding this important work at the University of Iowa."

The grant proposal for Soll's laboratory was the UI's first request to the Keck Foundation. "Having a first-time grant funded at the $1 million level is a great tribute to the quality of research at the UI," said Patricia Cain, the UI Foundation's director of corporate and foundation relations.

In recognition of the gift, the UI laboratory will be named the W. M. Keck Dynamic Image Analysis Facility.

Soll's researchers developed the first automated two-dimensional dynamic morphology analysis system by 1987 and have made continual improvements to the system. "This is a unique opportunity to build the next generation machine," Soll said. "Compared to cell motility research being done elsewhere, we're at the cutting edge with our technology."

The W. M. Keck Foundation, one of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations, was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The foundation's national grant-making is focused primarily on the areas of higher education, medical research, science, and engineering. The foundation also maintains a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of civic and community services, health care, precollegiate education, and the arts, as well as a program for liberal arts colleges. Since its inception, the Keck Foundation has made grants of approximately $550 million; its current assets exceed $1 billion.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for gifts to all areas of the University. Foundation staff work with organizations, alumni, and friends to provide support for a variety of UI programs.

2/3/97