UNC physician among top ten in funding from National Institutes of Health

June 28, 2001

CHAPEL HILL - Richard C. Boucher, MD, Kenan Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was among the top ten in federal funding among principal investigators doing basic research last year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Boucher, division head of Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine at UNC-CH, received $5.1 million in NIH grants for cystic fibrosis research in 2000. This placed him at number seven on the list, which was headed by Stanley Prusiner at the University of California, San Francisco. The complete list of scientists in the upper echelons of federal funding was published recently in the journal Science (June 15).

Boucher, who also directs the university's Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center, has published more than 300 articles on cystic fibrosis (CF) and gene therapy. He helped develop a gene "knock-out" mouse model for studying cystic fibrosis experimentally, conducted both animal and human trials of gene therapy for CF lung disease, and developed novel drugs that are being tested for the treatment of CF lung disease. Cystic fibrosis is the most common lethal genetic disease in the Caucasian population, affecting one in 3,300 births.

"Our center is a large, multidisciplinary group focused on the pathogenesis and therapy of cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases. To complement our basic science efforts, we have one of the largest clinical CF programs in the country with over 500 patients in our pediatric and adult programs," Boucher said.

"The genomics revolution has afforded unparalleled opportunities to understand in detail the pathogenesis of human diseases including cystic fibrosis, and to design and implement novel and revolutionary therapies."

Boucher is among key UNC-CH faculty outside the department of genetics whose research is an important component of the university's genomics initiative. This is a public-private campuswide investment that was announced by university Chancellor James Moeser February 22.

The initiative represents a commitment of at least $245 million over the next decade. It includes the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences and four new buildings that will house genomics research. Heading the initiative is Terry Magnuson, PhD, Kenan professor and founding chair of the medical school's department of genetics.
Media note: Contact Dr. Boucher at 919-966-1077, rboucher@med.unc.edu School of Medicine contact, Leslie Lang, 919-843-9687, llang@med.unc.edu

By Leslie H. Lang
UNC-CH School of Medicine

University of North Carolina Health Care

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