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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 1, 2004

Welsh And Campbell Receive HHMI Renewals

Two researchers in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will continue to serve as Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators for a further five years following renewal of their appointments by HHMI officials.

Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair of Physiology and Biophysics and interim head of the department, and a professor of neurology, and Michael Welsh, M.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair of Biomedical Research in the UI Departments of Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, and director of the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center, have both been HHMI investigators since 1989.

"HHMI's renewal of investigator status for Drs. Campbell and Welsh is the clearest sign of the value this prestigious organization places on the work of these two outstanding researchers," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "Through cutting edge medical research conducted here at the UI, these two scientists have significantly advanced our understanding of human disease, and their work holds the promise of potential treatments for the debilitating diseases cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy."

The HHMI, based in Maryland, was founded in 1953 by the famous aviator-industrialist Howard Hughes to promote the basic sciences and the effective application of findings to benefit humankind. The institute employs investigators at academic medical centers and universities who do research in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology. Under agreements worked out with the academic medical centers and universities, the institute provides salaries, laboratory space and equipment for the investigators and their research teams.

Campbell, who joined the UI faculty in 1981, is internationally known for his neuromuscular disease research. His work has led to the identification of the molecular and genetic basis of several forms of muscular dystrophy and provided a clearer understanding of muscular dystrophy disease processes. Campbell's findings have already greatly improved the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy and point to strategies for developing therapies for these devastating inherited neuromuscular diseases.

Welsh also joined the UI faculty in 1981. His clinical activities focus on pulmonary diseases, and he is internationally recognized for his research on understanding the biology and pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis (CF) and for work aimed at developing new treatments, including gene therapy, for CF and other genetic diseases. Welsh also is renowned for his research on the biology of ion channels involved in sensory functions such as pain, touch and taste.

In addition to their HHMI status, Welsh and Campbell also have been elected members of several other leading scientific organizations. Both are members of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and Welsh is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to Campbell and Welsh, current HHMI investigators at the UI are Val Sheffield, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of pediatrics, who studies the genetic causes of various human disorders, including hereditary blindness and deafness, and complex genetic disorders such as hypertension, obesity, congenital heart disease and autism; and Edwin Stone, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, who studies inherited eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5141 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, (319) 335-9917

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: Photos of Campbell and Welsh are available from Jennifer Brown