Kettering Fund invests in new research centers at Wright State

For the third consecutive year, Wright State University School of Medicine has received a generous gift from the Kettering Fund of Dayton. This year's grant will establish a new research center of excellence and expand two other research programs at the medical school.

Wright State's new Lifespan Health Research Center, located at the Miami Valley Research Park in Kettering, combines internationally recognized research projects on cardiovascular disease and rehabilitation medicine. The center is the steward of the Fels Longitudinal Study, the world's largest and longest-running survey of human growth, body composition, and cardiovascular risk factors.

Kettering Fund support will enable the center's researchers to expand their investigation of human variation throughout the lifespan, from childhood to old age. A long-range goal of the research is to develop practical diagnostic tools for assessing health status and aging in older persons.

The Kettering Fund gift also will augment research at Wright State's Gene Expression Laboratory and Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research (CITAR). The laboratory is a collaboration between Wright State's School of Medicine and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Using the latest "gene chip" technology to study changes in gene expression, the laboratory is currently conducting research on genetic factors involved in Gulf War Syndrome and cancer.

Kettering Fund support will enable more Wright State scientists and clinicians to use gene chips in their research. The new technology is expected to open up new avenues of exploration as well as new and more precise methods for diagnosing diseases such as cancer.

Kettering Fund support will enable CITAR to launch the first statewide research effort to monitor adolescent substance abuse and other health issues throughout Ohio. The new program builds on the research track record of the Dayton Area Drug Survey, which has monitored the incidence and prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use by Miami Valley teenagers since 1990.

The new program will provide the types of statewide data about teen tobacco use, as well as other substance abuse problems, that Ohio policy makers need to plan prevention programs funded by the state tobacco settlement.

"Over the past three years, generous grants from the Kettering Fund have enabled Wright State University School of Medicine to make strategic investments in exciting and innovative new directions in biomedical research," says Dr. Howard Part, dean of medicine at Wright State.

In 1999 Kettering Fund support provided seed grants through the Medical Innovations Grant Program which have resulted in more than $4.5 million in competitive research awards from federal and state sources; an additional $5.5 million is under review. Last year Kettering support brought additional post-doctoral researchers to Wright State and established a new center of excellence, the Center for Brain Research.

"A key feature of all the initiatives supported by the Kettering Fund is an emphasis on multi-disciplinary research, including collaboration between Wright State's biomedical scientists and clinicians," Part explains. "By keeping this research strategy in the forefront, we hope to speed the transfer of new medical knowledge from the 'bench' to the 'bedside.'"

"The Kettering family is pleased to support medical research at Wright State University School of Medicine. The family hopes the latest gift will continue to foster innovative research collaborations in the Miami Valley, " says Al Leland, who represents Virginia Kettering.

Last edited on 04/22/2015.