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UMMC grad returns to give distinguished lecture

Published on Thursday, April 30, 2015

By: Dustin Barnes

Published in News Stories on April 30, 2015

One of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's brightest scientists returned to his alma mater to present his recent research at one of the school's most prestigious lectureships on Wednesday. 

The Arthur C. Guyton Distinguished Research Lecture - named after the former chair of the Department of Physiology and one of UMMC's most prolific scholars and mentors - is reserved for the most distinguished physiologists and contributors to medicine, said Dr. John Hall, the Arthur C. Guyton Professor and chair of physiology and biophysics. 

Dr. D. Neil Granger, a 1977 UMMC graduate, was chosen as the 2015 distinguished lecturer because of his research in various fields, including ischemia reperfusion injuries, a form of tissue damage that can occur during a stroke. 

"He's published more than 600 papers, more than 100 book chapters and seven books," said Hall. "His research papers have been cited more than 57,000 times. 

"But it would be fair to say the contribution he's most proud of is his mentoring of young investigators," Hall said, adding that Granger has mentored more than 60 post-doctoral fellows during his career. 

He is one of three Granger siblings to graduate from UMMC, including Dr. Joey Granger, the current dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, said Hall. 

"I'm very pleased to be here on this day, one where we recognize Dr. Arthur Guyton," said Neil Granger, who during his studies at UMMC learned under Dr. Aubrey Taylor, one of Guyton's research assistants. "It was a privilege to be trained here. I have many fond memories of the days I spent here as a grad student." 

Granger's latest research focuses on the brain's smaller blood vessels' response to focal ischemia, a restriction of blood supply to tissue that deprives it of oxygen. He noted the specific field is one research publications have increasingly taken notice of over the last several decades. 

One area of his research, he said, is looking at various risk factors - including high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity and smoking - to see how different combinations can have an impact on a patient. 

"I think this is a very fruitful area for further research because again, most patients who are subjected to an ischemic episode do not have a single risk factor. They have multiple risk factors," said Neil Granger. 

Currently serving as the Boyd Professor and head of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, Granger became the seventh Guyton Distinguished Lecturer in the history of the series.  The last distinguished lecturer was Dr. Jeffrey Friedman from Rockefeller University in New York City in 2011.

Granger also is the first UMMC alumnus to receive the honor that was first awarded in 1999.

Hall, Neil Granger and Joey Granger
Hall, Neil Granger and Joey Granger