Professor Linda Hall Receives NIH "Merit" Award

Release Date: October 18, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Linda M. Hall, Ph.D., professor of biochemical pharmacology in the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy, has received a prestigious Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The award provides Hall with a total of $893,000 in research funding over five years, with the possibility of funding for an additional five years.

The MERIT Award provides long-term support for principal investigators who have consistently demonstrated an outstanding record of scientific achievements through their NIH grants, allowing them to work for up to 10 years without having to submit a new grant application.

The grant supports Hall's work on calcium channels in the model system Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly. Calcium channels are of interest in part because they play a key role in muscular and heart function and are targets for numerous cardiovascular drugs. In addition, neuronal calcium channels are potential targets for neuroprotective agents for use in treating stroke, ischemia, head injury and other brain trauma.

Hall's research has applications in a variety of potential products, including production of novel biotechnology-based insecticides and cardiovascular drugs.

By analyzing at a molecular level the genes that code for specific parts or subunits of calcium channels, Hall is able to use single gene mutations as precise "surgical tools" to functionally inactivate one calcium channel subtype at a time to define its specific role in a particular organism.

So far, Hall has discovered evidence that one of these calcium channel subunits is critical to the fruit fly's survival during embryonic development. Her research on other subunits in the fruit fly has demonstrated that they are similar in form to those in brains of mammals.

A UB faculty member since 1989 and former chair of the Department of Biochemical Pharmacology, Hall previously held faculty positions at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She is the director of the Oligonucleotide Synthesis and DNA Sequencing Facility run by UB's Center for Advanced Molecular Biology and Immunology.

Hall earned her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. A McKnight Scholar in Neuroscience, she was also the recipient of the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award and the Monique Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award.

In addition to serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Neurogenetics and as executive editor of Invertebrate Neurobiology, she has authored numerous scientific papers and has presented many invited symposia. Her professional memberships include the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Genetics Society, Rho Chi, and the New York Academy of Science.

Hall lives in Williamsville and is a member of the Nickel City Road Runners Club.

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