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February 18, 2013
Gina Katzmark | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141 | katzmark@d.umn.edu
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director of External Affairs | 218-726-8996 | creitan@d.umn.edu


UMD Professor Receives McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

DULUTH, MN Anika Hartz, a blood-brain barrier expert, has been selected to receive the University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, a unique two-year award designed to enhance the careers of the U's most promising junior faculty. Hartz is an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy on the Duluth campus.

Hartz's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that regulate blood- brain barrier function in Alzheimer's disease. The blood-brain barrier is a defense system that separates the brain from the body's blood circulation. Because it naturally plays a protective role, the blood-brain barrier can prevent life-saving drugs from reaching the brain.

"This is an incredible honor and I am deeply touched," said Hartz. "The McKnight Land-Grant award will help me focus on my research. I owe a great depth of gratitude to all my mentors, lab members, collaborators and the people who believe in me. I will work hard to prove myself worthy of this award."

Since joining the College of Pharmacy faculty in 2010, Hartz has helped secure more than $4.4 million for her research, including $3.2 million from the National Institute of Health. Her research has garnered international attention, most notably her discoveries of a potential way to reduce memory decline and an option that could be combined with other therapies to make Alzheimer's treatment more effective.

"Anika's research is original, innovative and imaginative" said Paul Ranelli, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences. "Because of the implications for Alzheimer's disease, her research has high clinical relevance and will be the basis for translational research to advance therapy of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases."

Hartz earned her doctorate at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences/National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Prior to joining the College of Pharmacy faculty, she served as a research associate at the U's Medical School, Duluth.

The McKnight Land-Grant Professor award includes a research grant in each of the two years, including a research leave in the second year. Winners are selected based on the significance of their research and how clearly it is conveyed; the originality and imagination behind their achievements; the potential to attract outstanding students; and other key criteria.



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