Upton Announces Federal Grant for WMU School of Medicine

A major new grant is headed to the Western Michigan University School of Medicine according to Congressman Fred Upton.

The very specific grant announced by Upton is from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the amount of $377,500 to further allergy, immunology, and transplantation research at the school. The title of the grant is “Sex Determines Age-related Changes in Repertoire and Function of Natural Antibodies Protective against Streptococcus pneumoniae with Increasing Age.”

Upton says, “This is yet another feather in the cap of Western Michigan University and once again recognizes the extraordinary work their staff and students continue to do,” adding, “This federal funding will help advance the knowledge we have in this important area of research. Its implications reach beyond our local community and could have a worldwide impact.”

Dr. Greg Vanden Heuvel, Associate Dean for Research at WMU’s Medical School, tells us, “Dr. Nichol Holodick’s research is focused on an important, but understudied, type of immune cell called a B1 cell.” By way of explanation, he adds, “These cells are found throughout the body and are one of the first lines of defense to infection. These cells produce natural antibodies that can fight off infectious agents like the bacteria that causes pneumonia, one of the most lethal infectious diseases known.” Dr. Vanden Heuvel adds, “I anticipate that Dr. Holodick’s research will have a significant impact on the health of the people of Michigan, especially the elderly,” and concludes, “We are delighted with the success of Dr. Holodick. She is a leader in the field of Immunology and a member of the Center for Immunobiology, one of the foremost centers for the study of B1 cells in the country.”

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