A new wave of researchers has joined the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s scientific staff as part of the foundation’s expansion.
OMRF has added seven new scientists to its staff. In addition, two research assistants have been promoted to faculty-level positions.
The new researchers have come to OMRF from a variety of institutions across the U.S. and beyond, including Yale University, Duke University, the National Institutes of Health and London’s Imperial College of Medicine. And their research interests range from studying the genetic roots of cancer to using wavelengths of light to understand cardiovascular processes that lead to heart disease.
“With the right resources, OMRF can make even more headway in the fight against disease,” OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., said. “Those resources include facilities and equipment, but the real keys are the human engines that drive discovery. And with these recruitments, we believe we’ve brought some of the brightest emerging minds to Oklahoma and OMRF.
The new researchers are: Jana Barlic, Ph.D., Hong Chen, Ph.D., Courtney Gray-McGuire, Ph.D., Courtney Griffin, Ph.D., Tim Griffin, Ph.D., Mike Kinter, Ph.D., and Dario Ramirez, Ph.D. Kenneth Humphries, Ph.D., and Yasvir Tesiram, Ph.D., received promotions that will enable each, like the seven new scientists, to run a laboratory at OMRF.
Bringing in so much talent in a single year required significant recruiting efforts by OMRF’s current faculty and human resources department. And while the weather did not always cooperate, OMRF’s and Oklahoma’s strengths shined through.
Courtney Griffin, who joined OMRF with her husband Tim in September, made her first trip to OMRF during last year’s ice storm. “I’d never been out here before, but even coming during the ice storm, I was impressed,” said Courtney Griffin. “When we came back together and checked out the neighborhoods and schools, it was a pleasant surprise. But the real selling point was OMRF and the promise that we’ll be able to work in a place that prizes innovation, discovery and collaboration.”
In the coming years, the foundation will continue to grow, Prescott said. The expansion will include increasing the number of principal scientists to 80, growing the staff to 800 and building a new research tower on the OMRF campus to house additional labs.
“It is a great time for OMRF, and the future looks even better,” he said. “Our mission is to find new diagnostics and treatments for human disease. By growing our already formidable group of researchers, we can help bring healthier tomorrows to Oklahomans and people everywhere.”
OMRF (omrf.org) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human disease. Chartered in 1946, its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.