HSC Postdoctoral Fellow Awarded Francis Fellowship


April 10, 2008 Contact: Shannon Guess (505) 272-0261 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ALBUQUERQUE , N.M. – A University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Sciences Center postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Nikki L. Jernigan, has been awarded the Parker B. Francis Fellowship. She is the sole UNM member of the Class of 2008 Fellows. Although there were more than 65 applicants, only 18 exceptional pulmonary science researchers were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council of Advisors to receive the fellowship. The Parker B. Francis Fellowship is a three-year fellowship and all recipients receive $150,000 over that time. Jernigan received this honor for her work titled “ Regulation of pulmonary vascular smooth muscle intracellular calcium following chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hyper-tension.” With the guidance of her mentor, Professor Thomas C. Resta, she focused her research on determining the role of a novel class of non-selective acid-sensing ion channels in the mediation of calcium responses related to pulmonary hypertension otherwise known as high blood pressure within the lungs. Parker B. Francis, founder of the Puritan-Bennett Company, established a foundation bearing his name in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1951. Since Puritan-Bennett was a leading manufacturer of respiratory equipment and medical gases, the primary emphasis of the Foundation was related to pulmonary research. Today, the Francis Family Foundation remains the sole benefactor of the Parker B. Francis Fellowship Program. Since 1976, the Foundation has contributed more than $40 million to the Fellowship Program in support of more than 700 Fellows.

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