OCAST grant supports TU research in treatment of celiac disease

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tyler JohannesUniversity of Tulsa assistant professor Tyler Johannes is leading a project that may help people suffering from celiac disease, a digestive disorder that is believed to affect more than 2 million people in the United States.

Johannes, a member of the faculty in TU’s chemical engineering department, recently was awarded $135,000 over three years from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology to aid in his research.

Johannes’ project seeks to initiate the development of a potential microalgae-based treatment for celiac disease. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. There is no known cure for the disorder.

Johannes received his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Illinois. His current areas of research include synthetic biology, bioenergy and directed evolution. He joined the TU faculty in 2008.

The OCAST program seeks to strengthen the competitiveness of Oklahoma health researchers for national funds, recruit and retain outstanding health research scientists for the state, improve health care for Oklahomans and bolster the state’s health care industry.

Ranked among the top 100 universities in the nation, The University of Tulsa is a private institution providing comprehensive educational opportunities to more than 4,200 graduate and undergraduate students in the arts, business, engineering, the sciences and law. TU features rigorous academic programs combined with personalized attention, small class sizes and low student-to-faculty ratio.

Mona Chamberlin