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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 21, 2006

UI Hybridoma Bank Establishes $250,000-Plus Graduate Student Endowment

The University of Iowa Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank (DSHB), under the direction of Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver/Emil Witschi Professor David Soll, has announced that it will provide a gift toward the Graduate Student Endowment in the Department of Biological Sciences of a minimum of $250,000 over the next five years. Depending upon DSHB sales and expenses over the next five years the gift could reach $1 million.

The endowment from the DSHB, a national resource initiated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and now run from the Department of Biological Sciences within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will help expand graduate student research within the department, Soll says.

"The gift is also an investment for future development of hybridomas, which provide monoclonal antibodies for research, and a venue for the DSHB to repay the department, which has generously provided a home for it since 1996, when it moved in full to Iowa," Soll says. He notes that because of cuts in funding to graduate education and because of the fundamental role graduate students play in the research performed by the faculty, he could see no better way to use the funds.

Department Chair and Professor Jack Lilien said this is an incredibly timely gift for which we are very, very grateful. "Funding of the department's graduate program is my highest priority and this gift will help to insure the future research productivity of the faculty, particularly the youngest faculty members," he said. "They are facing a difficult period during which the number of new individual research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation has declined precipitously."

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Linda Maxson said, "The significance of such an endowment to research and graduate student development can hardly be overstated. I give my heartfelt thanks to Professor Soll and the Hybridoma Bank."

The bank was initiated by NIH in 1986 at Johns Hopkins University, with a subcontract to the UI, and was moved in full to Iowa in 1996, when Soll became director. Under a reorganization plan developed by Soll, the DSHB has increased its sales from 125 orders per month to over 700 per month in 10 years. The bank serves as a resource for researchers around the world, allowing the UI to provide monoclonal antibodies at about one-tenth the commercial cost to scientists and play an important role in the international development of biological research.

Hybridomas, the stock and trade of the bank, are cells that produce single antibodies that bind to specific molecules, making them useful to scientists for a variety of studies. Monoclonals are increasingly being used as therapeutic drugs. Under Soll's direction, the DSHB has grown to one of the largest nonprofit facilities of its kind in the world for supplying researchers with monoclonal antibodies necessary for the study of embryos, cancer, neurobiology, white blood cells and many human diseases.

Soll notes that on an international scale, the DSHB is one of the UI's best-known facilities with more than 20,000 customers worldwide using the non-profit bank.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu