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Office of the Dean

NEWS | March 21, 2012

UC Davis pulmonologist selected for award from American Federation for Medical Research

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Amir A. Zeki, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, has been selected as a 2012 winner of the Henry Christian Award from the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR).

The awards were established in 1990 to honor the founder of the federation, Henry Christian. In 2012, the federation is giving the awards to the presenters and first authors of the most outstanding abstracts submitted in each abstract category for the 2012 AFMR Regional Meetings.

Zeki will receive his award at the federation's Henry Christian Awards Reception and Dinner on April 17 in Washington, D.C. The federation will present Zeki with a $1,250 award and a certificate of excellence for his work.

Zeki's winning abstract was titled "The Effects of Simvastatin on Human Airway Epithelial Cell Viability and Morphology." It is a continuation of Zeki's previous research that has shown statin drugs could be effective in reducing airway inflammation, potentially for people with asthma. In the study awarded by the AFMR, Zeki found that Simvastatin may be harmful to cells in the lining of the airway. He indicates that additional studies are needed to determine the optimal statin dose that will reduce inflammation while avoiding potential damage to the airway lining.

While statins reduce inflammation and improve lung function in animal models of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), definitive, randomized clinical trials are under way to determine the benefit of statins in these lung diseases.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at medschool.ucdavis.edu.