Lai Receives AACP New Faculty Award, NIAID Grant
Sam Lai, PhD, has been honored with an AACP New Faculty Award and has received a $400,000 grant from NIAID to explore trapping HIV in mucus as a way of preventing infection.
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy New Faculty Award program provides start-up funding for new pharmacy faculty’s research programs. As many as fifteen grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded in the 2010–2011 academic year to individual faculty starting their academic careers at AACP-member colleges and schools of pharmacy in the United States. Lai also receives $1,000 from AACP for required travel to the AACP Annual Meeting and Seminars in San Antonio, Texas, in July.
“This recognition by AACP and NIAID are well deserved,” says Bob Blouin, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “The approach Sam takes to his research is highly innovative and the research community has recognized its potential to address some very important scientific problems. Sam is a superb young investigator and we are so pleased with his rapid achievements and recognition.”
The AACP grant will support Lai’s efforts to improve nanoparticle coatings in order to make them biologically inert. Current nanoparticles, which can be used to deliver drugs or other therapeutic agents to tumors, are too easily trapped by the lymphatic system and absorbed by white blood cells.
Lai has also been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health totaling $403,181 over two years. He will explore ways of trapping and destroying HIV in the body’s mucous membranes in order to prevent infection. Blocking HIV in the mucous membranes before infection occurs may be critical to effective prevention of HIV, since once infection is established it is impossible to cure the disease, Lai says.
Lai is an assistant professor in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics.