The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation on Thursday welcomed U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) for updates on work at the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit biomedical research institute.
Mullin met with OMRF President Andrew Weyrich, Ph.D., and scientists from two of the foundation’s research programs.
OMRF Vice President of Clinical Affairs Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., briefed Mullin on the foundation’s tribal partnerships and the impact of federal funding at OMRF. A board-certified rheumatologist and member of the National Academy of Medicine, James supports a range of research collaborations with tribal communities as program director of Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources (OSCTR).
OSCTR program members, which include the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Nations, the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, and others, are working to accelerate research and patient access to treatments for conditions that disproportionately affect tribal and rural populations.
Mullin met with Aging and Metabolism Research Program Chair Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., who is studying the biological process of aging with the goal of extending the number of healthy years in a person’s life. Miller updated Mullin on OMRF’s research partnerships with the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
“Support for biomedical research is critical for the health of our country,” said Mullin. “Scientists at OMRF are doing important work in areas including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune conditions and opioid abuse. Advances made by Oklahomans here impact every American.”
In his meeting with Mullin, Weyrich shared a brief history of OMRF, which was founded in 1946 and opened its doors four years later thanks to donations from more than 7,500 Oklahomans. Today, the foundation has nearly 500 staff members and scientists across more than 50 labs. OMRF’s discoveries have yielded hundreds of patents and three life-saving drugs available in hospitals and clinics worldwide.
“It was an honor to welcome Sen. Mullin to OMRF and introduce him to Oklahoma’s medical research foundation,” said Weyrich. “Oklahoma’s U.S. senators have a longstanding commitment to biomedical research. Their support for OMRF’s scientists and our mission of making discoveries that make a difference has changed and saved lives.”