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New Orleans, LA – May Lam, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of William C. Claycomb, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, is one of nine postdoctoral researchers and students in the country, and the only one from Louisiana, invited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to go to Washington, DC to educate members of Congress about the challenges facing the next generation of scientific researchers in the United States. Dr. Lam will visit the Louisiana delegation’s offices on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.

Prior to the one-time infusion of funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, only about 1 in 6 grant proposals to the NIH were funded due to insufficient budget. This makes it particularly difficult for new scientists to get funding which can end promising careers as well as their potentially life-saving avenues of scientific inquiry. Years of basic scientific research build a body of knowledge that underpins medical breakthroughs, often from unrelated areas of science or medicine. For example, discoveries in basic kidney biology and blood pressure regulation converged with an unexpected finding involving snake venom to yield ACE inhibitors, currently one of the most effective high blood pressure medications. Basic research into the shape and characteristics of the estrogen receptor gave us tamoxifen, which can reduce breast cancer incidence among women at risk by more that 45%. It’s difficult to predict what will lead to the next medical breakthrough, so the more that is learned about basic biology and function, the better the foundation for advances in treatment or cures. Dr. Claycomb’s lab, which created the first immortalized line of adult heart cells in culture used by cardiac researchers all over the globe, is conducting research on repairing heart muscle damaged by heart attacks and replacing cells to treat a wide variety of cardiomyopathies.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with over 12,000 members. Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society's purpose is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through publication of scientific and educational journals: the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, and the Journal of Lipid Research, organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals entering the scientific workforce.


LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana’s health care professionals. The state’s academic health leader, LSUHSC comprises a School of Medicine, the state’s only School of Dentistry, Louisiana’s only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSUHSC faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSUHSC research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact, LSUHSC faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit and

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