The College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences

Professor's Brain-Injury Research Wins NIH Backing

Mark Whiting

Assistant Professor Mark Whiting (right) has recieved an NIH grant to study traumatic brain injuries.

The research Mark Whiting is conducting in his Radford University laboratory may soon lead to effective treatments for traumatic brain injury.

The assistant professor in the university’s Department of Psychology received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the research. The $405,272 grant is to Whiting and colleague Beverly Rzigalinski, a professor at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in Blacksburg, for a two-year project.

The research will investigate a potential treatment to stop harmful free-radical production and brain degeneration after head trauma from events such as car accidents, sports injuries and assaults. The researchers’ findings could also have applications in battlefield triage to treat head injuries from explosions.

“Dr. Rzigalinski and I are grateful to the institutes for this support of our work and pleased to be able to continue our research in this important area,” Whiting said. “This is also a teaching opportunity. Two Radford undergraduates and two graduate students will be working on the project with us.”

Whiting said the grant application was submitted in February 2011, peer reviewed in June and awarded in early September. The granting agency is the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one of the 27 divisions of the NIH.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Whiting as well as for Radford University,” President Kyle said. “Radford is proud to be a partner in this collaboration with VCOM.”

Whiting, who is beginning his fourth year as a professor at Radford, is also an alumnus. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 2003 and also holds a doctorate in physiological psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. This year he is teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in addition to his research.

The NIH, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the world’s foremost medical research centers. Based in Bethesda, Md., it is responsible for biomedical and health-related research.