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Nursing professor receives $350K grant

Turki Allugman
Turki Allugman / Arizona Daily Wildcat Matthew J Gallek has recieved a $350,000 award to promote his academic career and support his research.

A UA nursing professor has received one of 12 $350,000 grants offered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program to fund future research endeavors.

Matthew Gallek, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, said he will use the money to continue his research in stroke treatment.

The three-year grant will support Gallek’s research on aneurismal subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is a type of a stroke. Patients with this illness suffer from internal brain bleeding and what is known as cerebral vasospasm, Gallek said, which causes a decline of blood flow to the brain tissue, leading to further injuries.

Gallek’s main goal, he said, is to find the early predictors of the condition in order to be able perform intervention on patients and take preventive measures.

“We are looking for what influences the vasospasm that causes the outcomes,” Gallek said.

The research will not only focus on the causes of vasospasm, but will also look into genes that are in the body calcium to search for genetic indicators on cerebral vasospasm.

“What I’m looking at specifically is parathyroid hormone gene, which controls the calcium of the body function,” he said.

According to Gallek, if there is a high level of calcium in the body, then chances are there will be vasospasm in the blood and a high calcium level in the cerebrospinal fluid.

This study will allow Gallek to determine the relationship between the parathyroid hormone gene and the result of aneurismal subarachnoid hemorrhage, Gallek said. The overall goal of the research is to be able to identify at-risk patients before they are diagnosed with cerebral vasospasm, so doctors can begin preventive treatment as soon as possible, he added.

“If he could possibly identify a role for calcium, then we can look towards treating patients with medicine that affects their calcium,” said Leslie Ritter, a professor in the College of Nursing and Gallek’s mentor in the research.

Gallek will be looking at the differences between the parathyroid hormone genes through calcium measurements in order to fully determine the possible causes of cerebral vasospasm.

“In my opinion, as his mentor, he was qualified for the award,” Ritter said. “But there are many qualified nurses across the nation and he was one of many candidates that were confident enough to be qualified.”

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