Kerur Receives Prestigious Award From National Eye Institute

Nagaraj Kerur, a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, has received a prestigious K99/R00 award from the National Eye Institute (NEI). This Pathway to Independence award is one of only four given by the NEI in the nation annually.

The award will provide up to five years of support consisting of two phases. The initial mentored phase will provide support for up to two years for the most promising and exceptionally talented new investigators. This initial phase of mentored support will enable Kerur to obtain additional training, complete research, publish results, and transition to an independent research phase.

“This is an exciting time for me and our laboratory. I am very fortunate to be supported by my highly insightful mentor, Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, and the wonderful and very talented team members."

Kerur's research focus is on the immune pathway known as inflammasome in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Under the direction of Ambati, Kerur will investigate multiple signaling pathways critical for inflammasome driven mechanisms in this disease process. Katherine A Fitzgerald, professor of medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School and a leader in the inflammasome field, will serve as co-mentor and offer her expertise in carrying out these studies.

Kerur earned a degree in veterinary medicine from University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad, India, and a master's degree in veterinary microbiology from Anand Agricultural University. He earned a doctorate at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, under the mentorship of Dr. Bala Chandran. Nagaraj joined Ambati's lab in August 2011.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442Call: 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu