UR researchers develop Pill

UR researchers were awarded a $3.18 million contract by the federal government to develop a radiation pill. The contract could potentially extend three more years and be worth more than $10 million.

The research team, led by Professor Yuhchyau Chen of the radiation oncology department, will test eltrombopag for its ability to replenish blood platelets following injury from radiation. The team hopes that the pill will be crucial in case of a radiological accident or a terrorist attack.

‘Our primary objective is to establish a medical countermeasure that is safe, effective and simple to take, in the event we experience a shortage of medical personnel for the first 24 to 48 hours,” Chen said. ‘A post-radiation pill would be tremendously helpful.”

Currently, eltrombopag is used as a short-term treatment for patients who suffer from low blood platelet counts. GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical and health care company, will supply the University with the drug and will also serve as external advisers for the project.
Besides working on the pill, Chen is also helping to develop a blood test that will quickly reveal the amount of radiation that a person has been exposed to. This project stems from an earlier contract with the National Institutes of Health in 2005 that was supposed to improve the country’s response to a radiological attack.

Collegiate readership program gains funding

This semester, the Collegiate Readership Program will receive $5,000 in additional funding. Dean of the College Richard Feldman promised the money if over 50 percent of students filled out online course evaluations at the end of last semester.

With the cooperation of Students’ Association senator Head of the Projects and Services Committee and junior Eric Weissmann, Assistant Dean of Institutional Research Nancy Speck and members of the SA Projects and Services Committee, University administrators were successful in encouraging students to fill out their evaluations.

Feldman also promised an additional $1,000 for the program every 10 percent participation rate above the baseline 50 percent.

According to Weissmann, 52 percent of undergraduates filled out evaluations.
When UR last used the paper system two years ago, 79 percent of students filled out evaluations. This number dropped to 45 percent last year when the University introduced an online system.

‘We are currently in discussions with the company that delivers the papers to secure more papers for the upcoming two semesters as a result of these additional funds,” Weissmann said. Papers will be added to four locations spread across campus.

The Collegiate Readership Program has a current baseline budget of $20,000.

Nathaniel is a member of the Class of 2011.

Islam is a member of the Class of 2011.

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