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May 1, 2014 - Dr. Donna Cioffi Awarded for Excellence in Respiratory Physiology, Medicine

Dr. Cioffi1-web.jpgDr. Donna Cioffi, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently awarded the Giles F. Filley Memorial Award for her excellence in respiratory physiology and medicine.

According to Dr. Cioffi, the award is presented annually to an individual demonstrating outstanding promise based on his/her research program in respiratory physiology and medicine.

“I am extremely honored that I was selected to receive the Giles F. Filley Memorial Award this year,” said Dr. Cioffi. “This is really a reflection of the wonderful environment in the Center for Lung Biology here at USA.” She said that the Center is a fabulous training environment that is very supportive and collaborative in learning and research efforts.

Only two of these awards are given annually. One of the two awards is designated for a scientist affiliated with the University of Colorado, while the other is open to members of the American Physiological Society working in the United States. Award recipients are selected based upon their current and future research programs, research productivity and letters of support.

One of her current research projects involves endothelial cells -- the cells that line the blood vessels of the lungs -- and how they function when challenged by disease or illness. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Dr. Cioffi a four-year $1 million grant in 2013 to better understand this niche in medical research.

Dr. Cioffi’s work focuses on store-operated calcium (SOC) entry in endothelial cells in the lung. When SOC entry is activated, comes into cells leading to endothelial barrier disruption. Understanding mechanisms that regulate SOC entry may lead to development of new therapeutics for treatment of pathologies that involve endothelial barrier disruption such as acute respiratory distress syndrome.

“Being a recipient of this award will allow me to begin exploring new areas of research in lung biology,” Dr. Cioffi said.

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