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Chemistry professor receives Innovation Scholar Award

August 2, 2012
Dr. David Lewis
Dr. David Lewis
EAU CLAIRE — Dr. David Lewis, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, has been awarded the 2012 Wisconsin Medical Entrepreneurship Foundation (WisMEF) Innovation Scholar Award.

The award, presented July 24 at the 2012 Wisconsin Science & Technology Symposium in Marshfield, is in recognition of Lewis's work to develop new and safer derivatives of warfarin. Lewis was one of four scientists honored at the symposium.

WisMEF, a network made up of Aurora Health Care, BayCare Clinic, Marshfield Clinic and WiSys Technology Foundation Inc., advances medical innovations through joint research and development, and facilitates collaborative research among WisMEF physicians and UW System faculty and students. WiSys represents four-year campuses throughout the UW System, helping to identify innovative technologies and bring them to the marketplace.

Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug that is considered the "gold standard" for oral anticoagulants. But it is also difficult to find a stable, therapeutically effective dose, Lewis said, noting that warfarin is the second leading drug-related reason for emergency department visits and is the most-often-cited reason for drug-related deaths.

Lewis collaborates with Dr. Michael Caldwell of Marshfield Clinic on the warfarin research. The WisMEF award is a tribute to all those who have helped with the research, Lewis said.

"From my perspective, it provides recognition not only to me, but to the many UW-Eau Claire undergraduates who have contributed to the project, and to my collaborators at Marshfield Clinic," Lewis said. "It recognizes that we have made progress toward our goals, but we also know full well that we still have much more to do."

In a letter to Dr. Gilles Bousquet, UW-Eau Claire interim chancellor, Dr. Maliyakal John, managing director of WiSys, said Lewis' work is of fundamental importance in understanding the warfarin metabolizing pathways and may eventually lead to safer and more effective anticoagulant ion therapeutics.

Finding a safer way to use warfarin has recently taken on new meaning for Lewis.

"As a brand new warfarin user, our research has now become very personal," Lewis said. "I now know firsthand what patients undergoing anticoagulation therapy go through."

See a previous UW-Eau Claire news release for more information about Lewis and Caldwell's ongoing warfarin research.

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