CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax(319) 335-8034
Release: Sept. 20, 2000
Welsh to deliver lecture at UI Levitt Center Sept. 26
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Michael J. Welsh, M.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute
investigator and a University of Iowa professor of internal medicine and physiology
and biophysics, will deliver a lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the
UI Levitt Center for University Advancement.
Welsh, the Roy J. Carver Chair in Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics
at the UI, will discuss "Pursuing a Genetic Disease, Cystic Fibrosis."
The event is free and open to UI faculty, staff, students and the public.
The lecture is in honor of Welsh's election last May to the prestigious
National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the nation's most distinguished scientific
organization. Established in 1863, the NAS is comprised of scientists and
engineers dedicated to the advancement of science. Welsh became the third
current UI faculty member to be named to the NAS. He joined fellow faculty
members Donald A. Gurnett, professor, and James A. Van Allen, emeritus professor,
both in the UI department of physics and astronomy. Two other UI professors
now deceased -- William O. Aydelotte and Joseph H. Bodine -- also have been
elected to the NAS.
A UI faculty member since 1981, Welsh is known internationally for his breakthrough
research into the genetic causes of cystic fibrosis and for his work in developing
strategies to treat or possibly cure the disease.
Scientists know that cystic fibrosis is caused by a genetic flaw; correcting
this flaw could lead to a cure. One such approach is gene therapy, in which
researchers try to insert a healthy gene into the patient's cells. Often this
involves using a vector, such as a disabled cold virus, to carry the normal
gene to the patient.
Welsh and his colleagues are working to develop gene therapy for cystic
fibrosis and other genetic diseases. They also are focused on understanding
why patients with cystic fibrosis develop lung infections. Their discoveries
have shown that the bronchial passages in cystic fibrosis patients have an
impaired ability to kill bacteria. This predisposes the patients to recurring
lung infections. The work by Welsh's team is leading to methods that would
correct this defect.
Welsh's other research interests include projects designed to understand
the sense of touch and the perception of pain. These senses involve a new
family of ion channels. The work may improve the understanding of control
of blood pressure and may lead to the development of better drugs to treat
Welsh received his medical degree at the UI in 1974. He is a recipient of
numerous professional awards and a member of several leading scientific organizations,
including the presidency of the American Society of Clinical Investigation,
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored
events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation
in order to participate in this program, please contact the UI College of
Medicine in advance at (319) 335-9839.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.