|At its semiannual board meeting Tuesday, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation added two new members to its board of directors: Bond Payne and Phyllis Stough, both of Oklahoma City. The board also honored OMRF researcher William Rodgers, Ph.D., with its Merrick Scientist Award.|
Payne is the chairman of the board of the Heritage Trust Company, the Oklahoma-based national trust company that he co-founded in 1997. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he serves as president of the Oklahoma City Downtown Club and the Harn Homestead board of directors and is also a trustee of several other nonprofit organizations.
A graduate of Oklahoma City University, Stough sits on numerous boards in the city and state, including Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity and Red Earth. She previously chaired the Baptist
|Integris Medical Center board of directors and a number of significant events throughout the state, including the dedication ceremony for the Oklahoma City National Memorial.|
At the meeting, the board also presented William Rodgers, Ph.D., with the Merrick Scientist Award, given annually to a junior member of OMRF’s faculty whose research is flourishing. The award was established in 1981 by Elizabeth Merrick Coe through the Merrick Foundation of Ardmore.
|Rodgers, who holds a doctorate from the University of Illinois, studies the immune system, focusing on how immune cells develop and are activated to fight pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. His work has recently earned the covers of three different research journals, and he hold a five-year, $1.3-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support his work.|
At the meeting, OMRF’s board of scientific visitors also delivered its evaluation of OMRF’s Arthritis and Immunology Research Program. The board, which consists of prominent scientists from around the country, conducted a two-day evaluation of the program, which focuses on the study of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other “autoimmune” diseases—conditions in which the body turns the weapons of its own immune system against itself.
The board declared that the program was, “without exception, excellent.”
“This program is really leading the world in lupus research,” said board member Mark Davis, Ph.D., a professor of immunology at Stanford University. “It’s putting you on the map.”
|“It’s incredible to see the growth of this institution,” said Davis, who has served on OMRF’s scientific board of visitors since 2001. “We really wish we had some of OMRF’s facilities at Stanford. You’re doing extremely well, and you should be very proud.”|
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences.