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Release: Aug. 27, 2001

UI professor honored by Muscular Dystrophy Association

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa researcher Kevin P. Campbell, Ph.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, and professor of neurology, will be honored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) at their annual Jerry Lewis Telethon that will be held Sept. 2-3 in Los Angeles.

Campbell is this year's recipient of the MDA's S. Mouchly Small Scientific Achievement Award. The award, which was established in 1997 to honor the late S. Mouchly Small, M.D., is presented annually to an MDA-funded researcher who has made significant contributions in the field of muscular dystrophy research over the year. The award comes with a $10,000 grant to fund the recipient's research efforts.

S. Mouchly Small was a noted psychiatrist and educator whose interest in neuromuscular diseases prompted his strong relationship with the MDA. This relationship lasted from the organization's earliest years in the 1950s throughout Mouchly Small's lifetime. He held several important positions within the MDA, including serving as the organization's president from 1980 until 1989.

"I am honored to be this year's recipient of the Scientific Achievement Award," Campbell said. "It is a particular pleasure to receive this award since it is named after S. Mouchly Small who was president of MDA when I received my first MDA grant twenty years ago."

Campbell will receive the S. Mouchly Small Scientific Achievement Award in recognition of his success in identifying the roles of sarcoglycan proteins in muscular dystrophy. These proteins are part of a large complex of proteins called the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex, which forms an essential bridge between structures inside and outside of muscle cells.

Campbell and his team have developed animal models and tissue systems to investigate the role of this family of proteins in muscular dystrophies. They have found that defects in various sarcoglycans cause the loss of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex from different types of muscle, which in turn leads to muscle deterioration.

Their basic research has provided a clearer understanding of muscular dystrophy disease processes and suggested a potential treatment for damage caused to heart muscles by one form of muscular dystrophy. Earlier this year, using mice with this particular type of muscular dystrophy, Campbell and his colleagues tested their idea and found that long-term treatment with verapamil (a drug used to treat hypertension, angina and certain arrhythmias) could prevent heart muscle damage in the mice without serious side effects.

Campbell, who also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a UI Foundation Distinguished Professor, will attend the telethon with his family to receive the award.

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