TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine announced on Wednesday that an assistant professor of cellular and molecular biology was awarded an R35 MIRA grant for $1.8 million by the National Institutes of Health.

The grant was awarded to Dr. Maolin Lu, and the university said this is the first R35 grant, or the “Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award,” they have received. The grant is given to promising young investigators to provide them with a stable funding environment for ambitious, innovative research.

“I am immensely proud of Dr. Maolin Lu for achieving this remarkable milestone both for herself
and the institution,” Founding Dean of the UT Tyler School of Medicine Dr. Brigham C. Willis said.
“This is an incredibly competitive grant, and the fact that she was awarded it so early in her career with UT Tyler is a testament to her talent and dedication.”

The university said Lu’s research interests include understanding virus-host interactions for viruses such as HIV, SARS-CoV-2 and RSV.

“The proposed program of research in this R35 award focuses on better understanding the entry mechanism of respiratory viral pathogens (SARS-CoV-2, RSV and future emerging viral pathogens), a process that is a prerequisite for a virus to enter host cells,” the university said in a release.

Lu has also received several other grants over the past year for her research including:

  • $175,000, a collaborative development award from the Duke Center for HIV Structural Biology
  • $370,700, a R56 grant from the National Institutes of Health
  • $130,000 from the Gilead Science Research Scholars Program

“I’ve received support from lots of scientists and their laboratories,” Lu said. “To receive these types of grants, it’s imperative to have a strong supporting system and a spirit of collaboration, and I’m thankful that, through the School of Medicine and other researchers, I’ve had both.”