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Published on 24 September 2009

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Professor receives Fulbright award

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A University of Portsmouth professor has been selected from almost 1400 candidates to win a prestigious international award.

Professor Darek Gorecki has won a Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship, one of just about two awards conferred annually to outstanding UK professionals or academics by the Fulbright Commission. The awards are highly competitive and previous Fulbright Scholars include no less than 39 Nobel prize-winners.

The award will fund the professor travel to the US to partner with renowned US institution, Harvard, where he will continue his research into the hereditary and lethal muscle weakening disease, muscular dystrophy.

Professor Gorecki is undertaking further research into the role of a specific protein, known as the P2 receptor. The aim is to understand how the absence of dystrophin, the protein which muscular dystrophy sufferers have a deficiency of, affects the production and function of this receptor. He believes that abnormalities in the P2 receptor found in dystrophic muscle cells may be contributing to the progressive muscle damage.

Professor Gorecki said: “This work potentially represents a brand new avenue in the pathology of the disease which will take us one more step towards finding a cure. This kind of research is crucial but it is lengthy and costly and the Fulbright award is a chance to promote my work and help obtain more funding to carry it forward.

“I’m honoured that the Commission chose me to represent them and to recognise the important scientific research being undertaken here at the University of Portsmouth. I’m very much looking forward to exchanging ideas and sharing working practices with colleagues at Harvard next year.”

Professor Gorecki will begin his research here at the University of Portsmouth and will spend three months in the US next year.

The Fulbright Commission aims to promote peace and understanding through educational exchange and offers awards and advice for study, research, lecturing or professional development in any academic field. Other Fulbright alumni include US heads of state and members of the US Government.

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