USD researchers honored with Nelson Faculty Research Grant

University of South Dakota researchers Gina Forster and Ranjit Koodali are the recipients of a $12,000 grant from the Nelson Faculty Research Grant Committee of the USD Graduate School for their proposal, "Developing Nanotechnology to Deliver Neuropeptides to the Brain."

Forster, Ph.D., associate professor of basic biomedical sciences, and Koodali, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, are working together to develop a different drug delivery method for the anti-anxiety drug antisauvagine (ASV). In addition to developing a new delivery method for ASV, the project will utilize the assistance of undergraduate and graduate students in the lab and provides an opportunity for additional funding through the National Institute of Health.

Forster's research interests include the study of neurobiology that underlies anxiety states and addiction. Her National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded research examines the neurobiological and behavioral interaction between stress and drug abuse, with a major focus on monoamine and neuroendocrine systems and anxiety behaviors. Forster's collaboration with Drs. Raluca Gaher and Jeffrey Simons in the USD Department of Psychology is conducting Department of Defense funded research to understand the behavioral, cognitive and neural associations between post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use and abuse in veterans.

Koodali's research is funded by the National Science Foundation – South Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). His research is focused on the development of novel materials for applications ranging from antibacterial activity, catalysis, drug delivery, environmental remediation, to solar energy conversion and storage and thermal insulators.

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