UNMC Grants -- Dr. Kabanov receives 'mega-grant' from Russian government

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | June 17, 2011

UNMC nanomedicine guru Alexander "Sasha" Kabanov, Ph.D., D.Sc., will operate labs on two continents thanks to a two-year, $4.5 million "mega-grant" from the Russian government.

Dr. Kabanov, the Parke-Davis Professor in Pharmaceutics and director of the Center for Drug Delivery and Nanomedicine (CDDN) at UNMC, is one of 40 Russian, foreign or expatriate Russian scientists who last year received a new type of grant to bring their expertise to Russian universities.

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Alexander "Sasha" Kabanov, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Dr. Kabanov joins an elite group of grant winners. One winner is a Nobel laureate and another holds a Fields Medal, commonly regarded as math's Nobel Prize.

The only chemist in the group, Dr. Kabanov will lead one of six projects at Moscow State University (MSU), his alma mater. He will study chemical formulations of enzymes and proteins for bionanomaterials.

"I am looking for a different approach to therapy for drug-resistant bacteria," he said.

Dr. Kabanov file

Joined UNMC: 1994

Contributions:

  • Founded CDDN -- the first academic center in nanomedicine in the United States -- which is composed of 33 faculty members who hold more than $34 million in federal research grants and generate about 50 percent of all UNMC patent applications.
  • Established the field of "polymer genomics," which investigates effects of polymers and nanomaterials on cellular responses to develop safe and efficient therapeutics.

The grant from Russia recognizes the quality of Dr. Kabanov's research, said Don Leuenberger, vice chancellor of business and finance.

The 12-billion-rouble (U.S. $428 million) 'mega-grant' program is part of Russia's attempt to strengthen research at its universities and modernize the country's science and economy at large.

Dr. Kabanov's laboratory will be in the MSU Department of Chemistry, where he also was a leading research fellow before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Dr. Kabanov and Leuenberger recently signed an agreement with MSU to protect intellectual property developed through this collaboration. The agreement, negotiated by UNeMed, UNMC's technology transfer arm, also gives MSU the license to use Dr. Kabanov's technologies that he developed at UNMC and gives UNMC access to enzyme engineering technology available at MSU.

"This is a great challenge," said Dr. Kabanov, who along with other mega grant recipients, recently met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. "We hope to produce good science and good products in both nations."

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