10/8/2004 | EMBARGOED UNTIL 8PM TONIGHT

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Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336

KU Chancellors Club honors scientist with $5,000 research award

MEDIA: THIS STORY IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 8PM TONIGHT

LAWRENCE -- Paul D. Cheney, an internationally recognized neuroscience researcher and chair of the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2004 Chancellors Club Research Award.

The Chancellors Club, established in 1977 by the Kansas University Endowment Association, is KU's major-donor organization. The $5,000 annual research award honors a KU Medical Center researcher whose work has led to significant scientific discoveries. Candidates for the award are nominated by colleagues, students and alumni. Cheney receives the award tonight at the club's 27th annual meeting in the Kansas Union ballroom.

"This is probably one of the biggest honors I've ever received," Cheney said. "I am honored and flattered and humbled."

A member of the KU faculty since 1978, Cheney has been a pioneer in developing modern methodology for relating activity of the brain to movement. In the past decade, he has expanded his research to include the study of the cognitive and motor impairments in primates with AIDS. He recently began a collaborative study for the National Institute for Drug Abuse that will look at the affects that drugs of abuse have on the motor and cognitive function decline associated with the AIDS virus.

Cheney has spent much of his career investigating how the brain controls muscles to produce coordinated, multi-joint movement. His findings are relevant to the understanding and treatment of conditions such as stroke and Parkinson's disease as well as the development of neuroprosthetic devices to restore the function in spinal cord injury.

Cheney's groundbreaking research has won the praise of his colleagues at KU and scientists across the country.

James C. Houk, professor of physiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, wrote: "Paul has perfected the study and analysis of identified neurons in the motor cortex to an incredible degree. His work has had an enormous impact on shaping the thinking in the emerging field of connected-neuron neurophysiology, in which he has been a pioneer."

Cheney's mentor, Professor Eberhard E. Fetz, wrote, "His work has been consistently of the highest caliber, both with regard to technical innovations and conceptual significance." Fetz is associate director for neuroscience at the Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle.

In 2000, Cheney received the University of Kansas Medical Center Research Investigator Award. His many teaching awards include the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, presented by the Medical Student Association at KU. Twice he has received the Honors in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award from Student Voice at KU Medical Center.

Cheney graduated magna cum laude in 1969 from the State University of New York College at Fredonia and received a Ph.D. from the SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse in 1975. He held a postdoctoral fellowship and research assistant professorship at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle before joining the KU faculty as an assistant professor of physiology.

"I have always enjoyed the thrill of discovering something new and knowing you've found something you can be sure of. That's a very satisfying feeling," he said. "Coming to KU was the best choice I could have made. It's a strong, supportive and collaborative environment."

KU Endowment is an independent, non-profit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU. Through 2004, KU Endowment is conducting KU First: Invest in Excellence, the largest fund-raising campaign in KU history, with a goal of raising in excess of $600 million in funds for scholarships, faculty support, programs and capital projects.

The Kansas University Endowment Association is conducting KU First on behalf of KU through 2004 to raise funds for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, capital projects and program support. KU Endowment is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university and one of the largest.

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