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UT Tyler School of Medicine Receives $1.25 Million Gift 

Funds to Support Lung Disease Research 

TYLER, Texas (February 8, 2024) –The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine received a  $1.25 million gift from the Padosi Foundation to support Dr. Jennifer R. Honda’s research in lung  disease. Honda is the inaugural director of the university’s Center for Mycobacterial Treatment and  Discovery, and her research focus is nontuberculous mycobacteria, or NTM. 

This is the latest of a series of gifts received locally, statewide and nationally to support lung disease  research, advancing the UT Tyler Health Science Center’s legacy as the “Chest Hospital” for East  Texas. 

“We are tremendously grateful to the Padosi Foundation for recognizing and supporting the  importance of Dr. Honda’s transformative research,” said President Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, FACP. 

Nontuberculous mycobacterial infections are an emerging public health threat. The rates of  infection are increasing, especially among women and the elderly. This environmentally acquired  lung disease can cause damage and scarring to airways over time, making them more susceptible to  other respiratory infections. Treatment often requires multiple antibiotics taken over the course of  several years. 

“Our university is nationally recognized for treating nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease,”  said Dr. Julie V. Philley, executive vice president and vice provost for UT Tyler health affairs. “The  addition of Dr. Jennifer Honda to the Tyler team is a game changer. We cannot express how excited  we are about this project and Dr. Honda’s expertise in the lab. We are committed to her success but  most importantly, the diagnosis, treatment and understanding of these bacteria with the goal of  helping patients.” 

Honda’s Center for Mycobacterial Treatment and Discovery researches the development of NTM  and how it and other serious lung infections adapt to climate changes. This gift will increase  research opportunities and enable the center to recruit high-caliber researchers from across the  nation, leading to improved clinical care for patients affected by this infection. 

“We are thrilled to support the UT Tyler School of Medicine on this groundbreaking initiative and to  continue our support of Dr. Jennifer R. Honda’s research,” said Andrew Merz, executive director of  the Padosi Foundation. “Padosi was founded in Hawaii, which has one of the highest rates of NTM  lung disease in the nation, and we have always been inspired by the community-oriented approach that Dr. Honda takes to her research, which offers enriching educational opportunities to high  school and college students and other members of the community in Hawaii. We are so excited to  see what she and UT Tyler do next.” 

“I look forward to this next chapter with the Padosi Foundation,” said Honda. “The foundation’s  support will help us produce additional scientific discoveries, while continuing to train the next  generation of NTM scientists and clinicians on a larger scale.” 

Honda was born and raised in Hawaii. She received her bachelor’s in biology and zoology from  Colorado State University, her master’s in microbiology from the University of Hawaii and her PhD  in microbiology from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Currently, Honda is a  basic science, translational mycobacteriologist and tenured associate professor for the Department  of Cellular and Molecular Biology and the School of Medicine. Earlier this year, she received a  $300,000 Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention Award from UT System to invest in her  research.  

With a mission to improve educational and health care outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT  Tyler offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 10,000 students.  Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has  unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education, cutting-edge research and excellent  patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World  Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston. 

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