Dr. Peng to receive Badami Award for HIV/AIDS research

by Lisa Spellman, UNMC public affairs | November 20, 2008

picture disc.
Hui Peng, M.D.
Hui Peng, M.D., an instructor in the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, will receive the 2008 Nicholas Badami Fellowship Award for Excellence in HIV/AIDS research at a dinner held tonight in her honor.

Dr. Peng -- whose research focuses on HIV associated dementia and better therapies to treat it, especially in children -- said the $10,000 cash award she receives will provide the necessary support to advance her research.

"The data obtained from this project will form the basis for an R21 proposal," she said. "It is a great honor for me to receive this award. I would especially like to thank my mentor, Jialin Zheng, M.D., for introducing me to neuroscience and AIDS research. Without his support I would not have gotten this far."

Dr. Peng also noted the spectacular research environment in the pharmarcology and experimental neuroscience department and UNMC as a whole, as well as the support from Howard Gendelman, M.D., chairman of the department.

"This award, along with their support, is helping me to achieve my goal of becoming an independent scientist," she said.

"Through almost eight years of hard work and effort, Dr. Peng has evolved as one of the leaders and key players in the brain inflammation and neurogenesis field."

Jialin Zheng, M.D.

Dr. Zheng said his mentee is a talented and gifted scientist with great potential to become a leader in the competitive field of HIV research.

"Since joining my lab in early 2001, Dr. Peng has helped develop various new culture systems and novel techniques for the determination of changes in neural progenitor cell functions," Dr. Zheng said. "Her efforts were instrumental in inaugurating and advancing this important research initiative. Through almost eight years of hard work and effort, Dr. Peng has evolved as one of the leaders and key players in the brain inflammation and neurogenesis field.

"With her continuous perseverance, I am sure she will be successful and emerge as a national leader in her chosen field."

Dr. Gendelman said the Badami Award is designed to help young investigators promote their careers and become leaders in HIV/AIDS research.

"It is designed to build translational research in HIV/AIDS and to see the continuance of the great science under way in the neurosciences in general by supporting the most promising young investigators," he said.

It was established by Badami's widow, Laura Lauer, to honor her late husband. Dr. Gendelman was Badami's physician while working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Badami, who died in 1993, was an adamant supporter of HIV/AIDS research. The first fellowship was awarded that year. The award is given every other year and five UNMC faculty members have received it.