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OKLAHOMA CITY –  The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has received two grants from the National Institutes of Health, totaling more than $3 million.

According to OMRF, the $3.6 million in federal funding will support investigations into cellular mutations links to rare skeletal diseases and vessel function.

OMRF scientist Lorin Olson, Ph.D., was awarded a five-year, $1.9 million grant to study mutations that cause defects in skeletal growth.

Olson is looking at cellular mutations in two rare skeletal conditions: Penttinen syndrome and Kosaki overgrowth syndrome.

According to OMRF, both diseases have fewer than 10 known cases globally. Mutations are different in each disease, but both can be traced to one specific gene, a protein called PDGF receptor beta.

Olson’s lab will conduct experiments to see what the particular mutation does and its consequences.

OMRF scientist Ray Rezaie, Ph.D., received a four-year, $1.75 million grant to investigate the mechanisms by which blood coagulation factors generate cellular signaling responses that help maintain healthy blood vessels.

Rezaie says researchers must gain a better understanding of the signaling mechanisms in order to develop new drugs for the life-threatening disorders.