USD professors honored by Regents

USD professors honored by Regents Dr. Martin Gerdes and Dr. Joyce Keifer were recently presented the South Dakota Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Research.

Initiated in 1997, the award recognizes research accomplishments that have enhanced the national reputation of the scholar and the state.

Gerdes received the established faculty award. He is currently the director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute of the South Dakota Health Research Foundation based in Sioux Falls. He has served in various faculty positions before joining the department of anatomy and structural biology at the Univeristy of South Dakota as professor and chairman in 1993.

Gerdes received his Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, TX, and then served as a National Institute of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow at the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans.

His research program is in the area of detection and treatment of heart failure. He has developed a model for early diagnosis of heart failure based on remodeling of cell structure in diseased tissue.

Gerdes has had more than 15 years of NIH funding including his current $1.7 million grant. He also has received private funding from Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck Pharmaceuticals, SmithKline Beecham, and the American Heart Association.

He has had 57 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Keifer received the Midcareer Award. She is an associate professor in the department of anatomy and structural biology. Keifer, who has been at USD since 1993, received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in neuroscience and did her postdoctoral research at Northwestern University Medical School.

Her research interests relate to the neural mechanisms of adaptive motor control using the isolated turtle brain as a model system to study neural circuits.

She has 26-referred journals published, two invited reviews, and two book chapters. She was a recipient of an NIH FIRST award and currently has an active NIH grant for "Neuronal Pathways Underlying in Vitro Motor Learning."

Keifer also serves as the principal investigator on the $8 million NIH COBRE grant recently awarded to USD to establish a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in the Neurosciences.

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