Estate gift to benefit UNMC researchers

by Jennifer Arnold, University of Nebraska Foundation | August 07, 2003

Longtime Orleans, Neb., resident Robert Kuhl worked hard during his life, diligently farming land and running an equipment repair business. Though he met an untimely death, the result of his labors is now benefiting medical researchers nearly 240 miles across Nebraska.

Through the Robert E. Kuhl Testamentary Trust, the University of Nebraska Foundation recently received a $170,000 bequest to support medical research at UNMC. According to Trustee Roger Benjamin, Kuhl initially established the Trust to care for his brother who suffered from pulmonary disease and then to support research in cancer and pulmonary medicine upon his death. "I believe Robert Kuhl would be proud of the work that will continue as a result of his diligence and generosity," he said.

Advancing UNMC's research

Through medical research, UNMC is able to determine better means of detecting, treating and possibly eliminating many diseases that affect individuals in Nebraska and around the world, said UNMC's Vice Chancellor for Research Thomas Rosenquist, Ph.D. "The generosity of Mr. Kuhl in directing his gift to medical research will help us advance promising efforts in two critical areas."

Unraveling the mysteries of cancer

In Nebraska, cancer ranks as the second leading cause of death with one in every five mortalities related to the disease. UNMC's physicians and researchers are committed to eradicating a disease that claims the lives of more than 500,000 people in the United States each year, said Kenneth Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center.

"We are devoted to developing new cancer treatments and prevention and helping our patients recover their lives," Dr. Cowan said. "Doing so requires an investment in the work taking place in both clinical and laboratory settings. We're grateful for Mr. Kuhl's foresight in helping us unravel the mysteries of cancer and thus save lives."

Studying diseases of the respiratory system

Equally concerning for Nebraskans is the state's asthma mortality which ranked second highest in the nation between 1990-1995, according to a 1998 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report and the latest data available. With the state's asthma mortality rate higher than the national rate, the Kuhl estate gift will help UNMC's section of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine advance its important work.

"Each day we are working to find better ways to diagnose and treat diseases of the lungs and respiratory system," said Joe Sisson, M.D., chief of UNMC's section of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. "Mr. Kuhl's generous gift will help us advance critical research focused on airway inflammation and repair and further our clinical trials in asthma, smoking cessation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."