Good medicine goes beyond the bedside

News & Events

Thomas Schwenk, M.D.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. dean, UNR Med

The highest quality medical practice starts in the laboratory, where scientific discoveries translate to innovative approaches to diagnosis, more powerful treatments and more complete relief of suffering. Research makes for better clinical care and better health care professionals.

UNR Med is leading the way as Nevada's foremost biomedical research institution. Faculty scientists generated nearly $240 million in research funding over the past decade, supporting research that enhances the quality of life as well as fueling the northern Nevada economy.   Over the past year, we've looked back at five decades of history at the School of Medicine—yet we have not taken our eyes off the road ahead, which continues to be paved by science and a passion to improve health care.

Why is scientific discovery necessary?

Because more than 50% of adults have some form of cardiovascular disease. It's the leading cause of death in the United States, a fact that underscores the significance of a new interdisciplinary research center being developed at the University of Nevada, Reno. Scott Early, Ph.D., UNR Med department of pharmacology professor and the center's director, will lead an expert team of investigators to explore cardiac function that could inform new therapeutic approaches to cardiovascular diseases.

Because diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide. UNR Med Associate Professor Seungil Ro, Ph.D., department of physiology and cell biology, has made an important discovery-finding a molecule that can be used to treat Type 2 diabetes. This discovery led to Dr. Ro's success in obtaining $2 million in funding for project development over the course of the next three years.

Because 15 million women deliver preterm babies around the world each year. In Nevada, one in 10 babies is born premature. A research team, under the direction of Iain Buxton, Pharm.D., foundation professor of pharmacology, is working to develop new approaches to prevent preterm labor thanks to a $2 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Because 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age in the U.S. have experienced fertility problems. UNR Med professor Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D., AAAS Fellow, department of physiology and cell biology, led research on sperm transportation that reveals a new cause of male infertility. Dr. Yan also developed a new treatment that allows infertile mice with efferent duct obstructions to regain fertility, which could one day be translated into human applications.

Because even though one in 20 people worldwide will live with a rare disease, the majority of rare diseases have no cure, limited treatment options and often go undiagnosed. Investigators at UNR Med, including Dean Burkin, Ph.D., Peter Jones, Ph.D., Takako Jones, Ph.D., and Charis Himeda, Ph.D., are working fiercely to better understand and develop effective therapies for debilitating rare diseases.

Because infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, cause 49% premature deaths and 63% of childhood deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Associate Professor David AuCoin, Ph.D. and Professor Thomas Kozel, Ph.D., are working steadfastly to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious diseases through grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security and the Naval Research Laboratory.

Fortunately, while the list of ways we need to improve medical care is infinite, so is our imagination, curiosity, creativity and energy. Our biomedical research program and the expertise of our many biomedical investigators are some of the most important foundations of the excellence of UNR Med, all of which contribute to a healthy Nevada and a healthier world for all. 


Media Contacts

Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for 50 years. The state's first public medical school, UNR Med fosters a healthy Nevada through excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, within a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is improving the future of health care. For more information, visit our 50th anniversary website.

Released: Tuesday April 30, 2019 @ 9:00 AM