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Grantee Honored for Allergy Research

By Eddy Ball
July 2010

Chris Kepley, Ph.D., left, and Walter Canonica, M.D.
Kepley, left, received his award from Walter Canonica, Chairman of the PhARF Scientific Committee. (Photo courtesy of Chris Kepley)

NIEHS-funded nanoPharma researcher Chris Kepley, Ph.D., was one of two young scientists to receive the prestigious 2010 PhARF (Phadia Allergy Research Forum) Award at a ceremony in London June 7.

Genoa University Professor and PhARF Scientific Committee Chairman Walter Canonica, M.D., presented the award during a special symposium at the 2010 Congress of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology ( Exit NIEHS. Kepley ( Exit NIEHS shares a cash award of $50,000 with Nikolaos Papadopoulos, M.D., of the University of Athens in Greece. Both winners are invited to hold a speech at Rudbeckdagen, or Olof Rudbeck Day ( Exit NIEHS, October 15. Rudbeckdagen is an annual event organized by the Uppsala Physician Society and the area of Medicine and Pharmacy at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Kepley's research team was the first to show that fullerenes, hollow carbon nanospheres made up of 60 atoms sometimes referred to as buckyballs, are able to block the allergic response in human cell culture experiments and mice. The PhARF Award honors his dedication to finding new ways to turn off the allergic response and his impressive body of leading-edge research in the field.

Kepley enjoys a high profile in his field

Since 2008, Kepley has been the nanoImmunology group leader in the nanoworks division of Luna Innovations, Inc.,. developer and manufacturer of new-generation products for the healthcare, telecommunications, energy, and defense markets. Kepley is the principal investigator on an NIEHS grant, "Prevention of Allergic Disease Using Nanomaterials," managed by Health Scientist Administrator Sri Nadadur, Ph.D.

Prior to joining Luna, Kepley was a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Along with co-chairing symposia and delivering lectures at meetings of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, he currently serves on the Scientific Research Advisory Board for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Kepley also serves on the NIH Bioengineering Sciences & Technologies Integrated Review Groups, the American Recovery Act Limited Competition, and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Panel.

PhARF promotes allergy research

PhARF was established in 1987 to honor the 20th anniversary of the co-discovery at Uppsala University of IgE, the immunoglobulin that triggers such classic allergic diseases as asthma, hay fever, eczema, and anaphylactic shock. PhARF is sponsored by Phadia, a leading company in the field of in vitro allergy diagnostics.

The objective of PhARF is to encourage progress in allergy research through the recognition of a young outstanding investigator by means of an international award. PhARF also serves as a forum for scientific discussion by arranging symposia and workshops. The group cooperates with established scientific organizations in the allergy and immunology area and the Award is presented in connection with the World Allergy Organization and the European Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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