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Release: July 7, 1999

Two UI researchers receive Howard Hughes Medical Institute renewals

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two University of Iowa Health Care researchers will continue to serve as prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators for the next five years.

HHMI officials have renewed the appointments of Michael Welsh, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine, and physiology and biophysics; and Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., UI Foundation Distinguished Professor of physiology and biophysics, and neurology. The renewal takes effect Sept. 1.

"The College of Medicine is proud to count Dr. Welsh and Dr. Campbell among our most accomplished faculty," said Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine. "Their research work holds tremendous promise for clinical medicine. We share the high regard and confidence in the future of their work as expressed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute re-appointments."

The institute, based in Maryland, was founded in 1953 by the famous aviator-industrialist Howard Hughes to promote the basic sciences and the effective application of findings to benefit humankind. The institute supports investigators at academic medical centers and universities who do research in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology. Under agreements worked out with the academic medical centers and universities, the institute provides salaries, laboratory space and equipment for the investigators and their research teams.

Welsh joined the UI faculty in 1981. He is internationally known for his breakthrough research into the genetic causes of cystic fibrosis, the most common fatal inherited disease in the United States. Welsh originally became an HHMI investigator in 1989.

Campbell, a UI faculty member since 1981, also became an HHMI investigator in 1989. Campbell has made numerous discoveries related to the causes of muscular dystrophy and is involved in trying to find a way to treat the inherited condition. Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases characterized by progressive muscle weakness and degeneration.

In addition to Welsh and Campbell, Val Sheffield, Ph.D., M.D., UI professor of pediatrics, is an HHMI associate investigator. He was initially appointed in 1997. John Donelson, Ph.D., UI Foundation Distinguished Professor and head of biochemistry, previously served as an HHMI investigator.