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Release: April 26, 1999

UI physician-scientists honored for research

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two University of Iowa College of Medicine physician-scientists have been recognized for their research by the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). Virend Somers, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and Paul B. McCray, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, received their membership during the ASCI Plenary Session held April 24 in Chicago.

ASCI is a medical society that recognizes physician-scientists 45 years of age or younger, whose cutting-edge research furthers the understanding of treatment of human disease. Membership into the society is a prestigious honor due to its tradition of excellence in biomedical research and recognition within academic medicine.

Somers, who is in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, was nominated for election into ASCI by François M. Abboud, UI Edith King Pearson Professor of Cardiovascular Research and head of internal medicine. Somers researches mechanisms in which sleep and sleep disorders may be linked to cardiovascular disease. Somers received his medical degree from the University of Natal Medical School in South Africa. Some of his previous awards include the American Heart Association Young Investigator Award and the International Society of Hypertension Young Investigator Award.

McCray was nominated for election into ASCI by Michael J. Welsh, M.D, UI professor of internal medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, as well as by Jeffrey Whitsett, professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. McCray researches lung disease, primarily cystic fibrosis, which is the most common and fatal hereditary lung disease in the United States. McCray examines potential uses of viruses in gene therapy to treat cystic fibrosis. He also studies lung host defenses and the cellular mechanisms of ion and fluid transport. McCray received his medical degree from the University of Iowa. Some of his previous honors and awards include the UI Central Investment Fund for Research Enhancement Faculty award and membership in the Society for Pediatric Research.

The American Society for Clinical Investigation is one of the nation's oldest and most respected medical societies. Some 30 UI physician-scientists have been inducted into the society since its inception.