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Appointments and Awards

August 2006

George Kudolo, Ph.D.

George Kudolo, Ph.D.
Professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Dr. Kudolo received the Martin Goland Research Award from the Alamo Chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific research association founded in 1886 that includes 200 Nobel Prize winners.

Dr. Kudolo, one of the leading researchers in the School of Allied Health Sciences, received the award for his studies on the extract of Ginkgo biloba, a widely used herbal supplement that is native to China. Dr. Kudolo and his collaborators published a paper in Clinical Nutrition that suggested Ginkgo biloba does not cause insulin resistance, a condition that precedes the onset of type 2 diabetes. The team had earlier reported that insulin levels increased in patients who ingested Ginkgo biloba.

Dr. Kudolo’s studies to date have been conducted with a $1.2 million grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was the Health Science Center’s first grant from this relatively new NIH institute.

The Goland Award is named for the late Dr. Martin Goland, president of Southwest Research Institute from 1959 until 1997.

Ravi Ranjan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Dr. Ranjan is one of only three Texas scientists to receive the New Scholar Award in Aging this year from the Ellison Medical Foundation. The award is for four years and is designed to provide significant support to young investigators selected for their potential to become leaders in the field of aging.

The $200,000 grant will go toward Dr. Ranjan’s studies of molecular changes in the brain that reduce people’s ability to learn and remember as they age.

He is studying a fruit fly in which a gene called the "Methuselah gene" has been altered, resulting in greatly extended life span. In addition to long life, Dr. Ranjan has shown that Methuselah flies learn better during old age than unaltered flies do.

The Ellison Medical Foundation supports basic biomedical research on aging relevant to understanding aging processes and age-related diseases and disabilities. The Foundation particularly wishes to stimulate new, creative research that might not be funded by traditional sources or that is often under-funded in the U.S.

Ravi Ranjan, Ph.D.
Frank J. Weaker, Ph.D.

Frank J. Weaker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Cellular and Structural Biology

Dr. Weaker was named a 2006 Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation. He is the eleventh Health Science Center faculty member to win the prestigious award.

Dr. Weaker received $5,000 and a commemorative pin at a presentation by President Cigarroa. Fifteen Piper Professors are selected annually on the basis of nominations from Texas colleges and universities.

Dr. Weaker is one of only two Health Science Center faculty members to receive the university’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching twice, and has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards from the institution.

He also has given his time to younger students interested in health and science careers, and regularly speaks to Med/Ed Program students from the Lower Rio Grande Valley when they visit the Health Science Center.


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