OHSU Scientists Named Outstanding Researchers and Mentors

12/12/03    Portland, Ore.

Four distinguished scientists at Oregon Health & Science University were honored as recipients of the 2003 Medical Research Foundation Discovery and Mentor Awards, which recognizes Oregon scientists who dedicate their career to making scientific discoveries and to teaching and guiding tomorrow's scientists.

The scientists were honored at a ceremony Dec. 1 at the Multnomah Athletic Club, surrounded by many of their colleagues and by top administrators from OHSU, the OHSU Foundation and the Medical Research Foundation (an affiliate organization within the OHSU Foundation). The OHSU Foundation administers the Medical Research Foundation's grants programs, which awards about $1 million a year to support new research projects throughout Oregon.

The Medical Research Foundation began the Discovery and Mentor Awards program 29 years ago and over the years has recognized some of Oregon's most distinguished scientists, teachers and health policy advocates as award recipients. Past recipients' collective range of expertise includes fundamental biomedical research, application of research to new treatments and therapies, health care delivery research and health care education.

This year's recipients are:
Discovery Award
John D. Scott, Ph.D. - A senior scientist at OHSU's Vollum Institute and associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Scott holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the OHSU School of Medicine. Scott has developed a significant base of understanding about a family of molecules called AKAPs, which has greatly advanced the scientific community's understanding of how cells communicate with one another.

James R. Bunzow, M.S., and David K. Grandy, Ph.D. (joint award) - Both scientists work together in the field of dopamine and opiate reception biology, which provides a critical understanding of how the brain functions as part of certain mental and neurological diseases, including drug addiction. Together, Bunzow and Grandy are co-inventors on 18 U.S. patents and one Australian patent awarded to OHSU.

Their dopamine receptor technology has resulted in 50 license agreements between OHSU and various commercial organizations. Bunzow is a senior research associate in physiology and pharmacology at the OHSU School of Medicine. Grandy is an associate professor of physiology and pharmacology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Mentor Award

Christopher L. Cunningham, Ph.D. - A professor of behavioral sciences and associate dean for graduate studies, Cunningham has spent much of his career shaping the work of promising young scientists. He has served as the mentor for nine postdoctoral research fellows, 12 graduate students and dozens of summer students. Cunningham also has served on more than 65 thesis advisory or examination committees. In addition, he contributed for many years to graduate training by serving as graduate program coordinator for behavioral neurosicences and program director for a National Institutes of Health institutional training grant. In addition to his role as professor and associate dean, Cunningham serves as director of the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience's institutional training program in the OHSU School of Medicine. He has been honored many times for his excellence in teaching and mentoring at OHSU.

The Medical Research Foundation solicits nominations for these awards from research scientists, deans, presidents and other science administrators at colleges and universities throughout Oregon.