Professor Rickus and Collaborators Awarded Showalter Support

Jenna Rickus
Professor Jenna Rickus
Professor Rickus is being recognized for her collaborative efforts in a project entitled, "Canine Glioma Cancer Stem Cells as a New Translational Cancer Model" by the Ralph W. & Grace M. Showalter Research Trust. Professor Rickus is co-PI with Professors R. Timothy Bentley of Veterinary Medicine, Kari L. Clase of Industrial Technology, and Jiri Adamec of Purdue's Bindley Bioscience Center.

Gliomas are common malignant brain tumors of both humans and dogs. The most aggressive form is Glioblastoma, and despite aggressive therapy this tumor is essentially terminal in every case. Attempts to identify improved treatments for glioblastomas have typically involved evaluating their effect in artificial models; however, this method has been fraught with difficulties and improved methods for predicting the best treatment in human patients are in critical need.

This multi-disciplinary team hopes to use spontaneously occurring gliomas in pet dogs to evaluate therapies. This project will allow the veterinary clinic to provide the latest therapies to individual patients, to provide clinicians and researchers a better understanding of glioma (both canine and human), and cell cultures which will be retained to test treatments prior to using them in canine and human patients.

This and other projects were chosen by the Showalter Selection Committee for support through a highly competitive selection process. Proposals for funding from the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust are first reviewed by an internal selection committee [ISC] at Purdue. The ISC is appointed on an annual basis by the Associate Vice President for Research and is comprised of distinguished faculty representing individual academic units within the Purdue system. The ISC then selects the most meritorious pre-proposals for development of full proposals which are then forwarded to the Showalter Trustees. The Showalter Trustees make the final selection of projects to be funded.

Since 1975, Purdue has received research funding through grants made possible from the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust Fund. The areas of research eligible for funding, as described by the benefactors, are:

  • Air and water pollution research
  • Research in the field of biochemistry
  • Research for the control and prevention of disease
  • Research for development of new technologies in food production
  • Research in medical and biophysical instrumentation, including the adaptation of the modern computer in the measurement of biological processes, in the collection, recording, analysis, and interpretation of data