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Bartke with mouse
Bartke portrait

June 16, 2009

SIU Med School Receives Its Largest NIH Grant

A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded the largest National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant ever received at the medical school.  Andrzej Bartke, Ph.D., professor and SIUC distinguished scholar of internal medicine and physiology, has received a five-year federal grant from the National Institute of Aging, a division of NIH.

The award is an NIH program project that will study the effects of growth hormone on aging and longevity.  This grant has a total budget of $8,612,500.  The research will study mutant mice that live longer than normal mice.  These mice also are less likely to get cancer, and retain learning and memory into old age.  The focus of the research is to identify mechanisms that link reduced growth hormone action with increased life expectancy or longevity.

“This major research award is a tribute to Dr. Bartke’s stature in the field and his ability to pull other experts together for this important aging research effort,” said Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, SIU’s dean and provost.  “With this program project award, the NIH has shown it believes the work of this collaborative group he has organized could make major progress in our understanding of aging.  Together we hope these scientists will move our knowledge ahead more quickly than if they worked separately.”

Bartke is the principal investigator for the project, which includes collaborators at four other institutions:  John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Ohio University in Athens; Dr. Richard A. Miller, Ph.D., University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Dr. James Kirkland, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Dr. Yuji Ikeno, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

This is the 15th grant Bartke has received at SIU for his research on longevity.  His total research funding totals $19.4 million.  His previous external research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Ellison Medical Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Bartke has received numerous awards including the inaugural Methuselah Prize for his contributions to life extension research resulting in the longest lived mouse (2003), the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Scientist Award (1997), the Carl G. Hartman Award of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (1995), the American Society of Andrology’s Distinguished Service Award (1995), and the Sigma Xi Kaplan Research Award (1991).

Bartke is a past president of the American Aging Association.  He chairs the NIA/NIH Biological Aging Review Committee and serves on the editorial boards including Aging Cell, Animal Reproduction, Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, and as associate editor of the Journal of Gerontology/Biological Sciences.  He has published more than 500 journal articles. 

Bartke joined the SIU faculty in 1984.  He earned his doctorate in zoology genetics from the University of Kansas in Lawrence (1965) and magister degree (equivalent of a master’s) from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (1962).

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