UMMC is partnering with the National Center for Natural Products Research and has been awarded a nearly-$6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will study the use of a popular oral supplement in promoting resilience against viral infections. Researchers in both Oxford and Jackson will combine expertise to investigate the botanical Arthrospira platensis, commonly known as spirulina, and its effects on immune function. Dr. Gailen Marshall, Division Director of Allergy and Immunology and Executive Director Mississippi Clinical Research and Trials Center, will serve as Principal Investigator of one arm of the grant that will provide $2.1 million in funding over three years.

Dr. Gailen Marshall

“Our group is delighted and honored to be a part of this center,” said Marshall. “This support will provide opportunities for our research team to study the impact of this dietary supplement on the immune system.

“By establishing the supplement’s optimal form, determining how much it takes to protect against viral infections and studying its impact on antibody production, we hope to provide information that helps people minimize their risk for developing colds and influenza. We will also try to establish whether this supplement is useful in individuals whose immune systems are no longer at peak efficiency.”

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