Ken Bayles, Ph.D.
Ken Bayles, Ph.D.

University of Nebraska athletes work toward championships.

University research faculty work to land federal grants that bring money to the state’s economy.

And, while, use of such funds are restricted, the level of pride rivals a national championship.

This month (January 2018), the U.S. Department of Defense through the U.S. Strategic Command contracted with the University of Nebraska National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) to help establish a drug development pipeline that could speed the process of developing new drugs at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute to counteract the effects of radiation exposure.

The two-year contract involves David Berkowitz, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ken Bayles, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and other University of Nebraska system researchers and partners with major pharmaceutical companies across the U.S. 

The first year of funding, $812,000, will be used to conduct primary analysis of potential dual-use drugs that could be used to counteract radiation exposure. The findings could expand into additional options for research with potential additional levels of funding approximating $7.1 million.  

“This makes a strong statement about the quality of work being done at the University of Nebraska,” Dr. Bayles said. “The U.S. government is looking for help with finding drug solutions to treat the effects of radiation exposure, collectively known as acute radiation syndrome (ARS). They are investing in our university to speed the process for developing these drugs.”

“This project is a perfect example of how the NSRI leverages the expertise and collaboration potential across the University of Nebraska to truly make a difference in supporting our warfighters, first responders, and possibly the health of Americans citizens,” said Robert Hinson, Lt. Gen. (Ret.), U.S. Air Force, and the founding executive director of NSRI. “This should be a great source of pride for Nebraska and the university in leading the way on this very important endeavor.”