Three notable Oklahomans will be honored Thursday at An Evening of Excellence, sponsored by University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, that brings together hundreds of the state's medical researchers, practitioners and philanthropic members of society.
This year's three honorees are Mary Anne McCaffree, M.D.; D. Robert McCaffree, M.D.; and Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources.
Proceeds from ticket sales are used to fund a seed grant program operated by the OU College of Medicine Alumni Association. Since the grant program began in 1985, grants totaling more than $2.6 million have been awarded to 134 junior investigators.
To qualify for the grant funds, applicants must be full-time faculty members at OU Health Sciences Center either early in their career or changing their direction of research, said Carol Modisette, director of alumni and annual programs at OU Health Sciences Center.
These junior investigators provide assistance for experienced scientists and physicians and await the opportunity to test their own theories. The grant recipients are chosen by experts at OU Health Sciences Center.
Through the seed grants, which can be up to $30,000 each, previous winners have made major strides in medical research. From finding ways to protect aging eyes from macular degeneration to using bacterial toxins to kill malignant tumors, the seed grants are often a stepping-off point in a researcher's career and a springboard for winning larger grants for their work.
“The funds raised at the Evening of Excellence are used for small seed grants for young and promising investigators who are chosen on a competitive basis.,” said Dr. M. Dewayne Andrews, senior vice president and provost and executive dean of the College of Medicine. “These investments in early career development have returned tens of millions of dollars of external research funding to Oklahoma, targeted towards understanding and solving many of the medical problems we face today.”