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Wake Forest physicist recognized for sickle-cell research


May 1, 2007

Daniel Kim-Shapiro, professor of physics at Wake Forest University, recently received a MERIT Award from the National Institutes for Health to continue his pioneering research on sickle-cell anemia.  Rarely granted, the MERIT (for Method to Extend Research in Time) awards extend funding for promising research without requiring the researcher to apply for additional funds.

The $343,920 MERIT award is renewable each year for up to 10 years.

Kim-Shapiro and his collaborators, including Bruce King in Wake Forest’s chemistry department, are investigating nitric oxide and how it might promote better blood flow in sickle-cell patients.  Hemoglobin is carried through the bloodstream by red blood cells, which must squeeze through blood vessels to deliver oxygen to the body.  In sickle-cell anemia, the red blood cells form rods and become rigid, which prevents them from passing through blood vessels.

The researchers contributed to the discovery that nitrite, a salt used to preserve food, is converted to nitric oxide in the body.  They have already filed a patent for the use of nitrite for treating certain cardiovascular conditions.  They also seek to understand more thoroughly how the nitrite-to-nitric oxide conversion process works and then pursue possible clinical applications of the salt in treatment of sickle cell anemia and other diseases.

Kim-Shapiro was a keynote speaker at the North Carolina Sickle Cell Program Conference held in Raleigh April 27.  He joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1996.

Press Contacts:

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Wake Forest University Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Daniel Kim-Shapiro.
Wake Forest University Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Daniel Kim-Shapiro.
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