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UT Tyler School of Medicine gets $1.25 million for lung disease research

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine has received a $1.25 million dollar gift in support of Dr. Jennifer R. Honda’s lung disease research.

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The university said the gift from the Padosi Foundation will help fund Honda’s research into nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), an infection that UT Tyler said is an emerging public health threat that damages and scars the airways making those infected more at risk to other infections.

“Our university is nationally recognized for treating nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease,”
said Dr. Julie V. Philley, executive vice president and vice provost for UT Tyler health affairs. “The
addition of Dr. Jennifer Honda to the Tyler team is a game changer. We cannot express how excited we are about this project and Dr. Honda’s expertise in the lab. We are committed to her success but most importantly, the diagnosis, treatment and understanding of these bacteria with the goal of helping patients.”

Honda is the inaugural director of the UT Tyler’s Center for Mycobacterial Treatment and Discovery and they’re researching how nontuberculous mycobacteria develop and reacts to changes in the climate. The $1.25 million gift will give them more research opportunities and help them recruit researchers from around the nation, according to the university.

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“We are thrilled to support the UT Tyler School of Medicine on this groundbreaking initiative and to continue our support of Dr. Jennifer R. Honda’s research,” said Andrew Merz, executive director of the Padosi Foundation. “Padosi was founded in Hawaii, which has one of the highest rates of NTM lung disease in the nation, and we have always been inspired by the community-oriented approach that Dr. Honda takes to her research, which offers enriching educational opportunities to high school and college students and other members of the community in Hawaii. We are so excited to see what she and UT Tyler do next.”

Honda was born in Hawaii and received her bachelor’s degree in biology and zoology from Colorado State University, her master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Hawaii and her PhD in microbiology from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

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“I look forward to this next chapter with the Padosi Foundation,” said Honda. “The foundation’s
support will help us produce additional scientific discoveries, while continuing to train the next
generation of NTM scientists and clinicians on a larger scale.”

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