Pluth receives Oregon Medical Research Foundation award

Michael Pluth

UO chemist Michael Pluth has been awarded the Oregon Medical Research Foundation’s Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award for his work developing new technologies for biomedical research.

The award recognizes junior Oregon researchers who show “exceptional promise early in a career of biomedical research.”

“I was thrilled to learn that I had received this award,” said Pluth, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry who also serves as an associate vice president for research. “The investment in early career scientists by the Oregon Medical Research Foundation is a great tradition and continues to raise the profile of biomedical research in Oregon.”

Pluth’s research is at the interface of chemistry and biology. Much of the work in his lab uses chemistry as a tool to understand the biological functions of small, sulfur-containing molecules, which play important roles in different diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, inflammation and neurodegeneration.

Pluth previously received a new investigator seed grant from the Oregon Medical Research Foundation, which led to a prestigious NSF Career Award. No stranger to biomedical projects, he is involved in several other collaborations with potential medical applications. He recently teamed up with UO chemist Ramesh Jasti to begin developing a new class of fluorescent dyes that could expand the real-time view of cell activity in medical diagnostics. The project is now headed into testing for possible use in medical imaging in a joint project with Oregon Health & Science University.

Pluth is also a collaborator with Kimberly Beatty, a professor at the OHSU School of Medicine. The two received a 2018 OHSU-UO collaborative seed grant to convene a working group on translational chemical biology.

“Professor Pluth’s vital research program is furthering our understanding of human health and disease,” said David Conover, vice president for research and innovation. “We congratulate him on this distinguished award and we look forward to seeing what exciting new discoveries lie ahead.”

The Medical Research Foundation supports promising biomedical research statewide through research grants and awards of merit to exceptional Oregon scientists. It is administered by the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation. More information about the awards is available on the foundation website.