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Tuskegee University Receives $186K to Support Innovative Research

March 10, 2017

Pictured (L to R) are the Tuskegee University research investigators Dr. Jesse Jaynes, Dr. Ahmad Salam, and Dr. Clayton Yates.
Pictured (L to R) are the Tuskegee University research investigators Dr. Jesse Jaynes, Dr. Ahmad Salam, and Dr. Clayton Yates.

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 10, 2017) - Riptide Bioscience of Vallejo, Calif., awarded Tuskegee University $186,615 to support doctoral students in cancer research. Dr. Channa Prakash, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed this very generous gift from Riptide Bioscience. Dr. Prakash is speaking on behalf of the Integrative Biosciences (IBS) Ph.D. Program’s Deans Council, which also includes Dr. Walter Hill, dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS), and Dr. Ruby Perry, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

“Tuskegee University appreciates the contribution from Riptide Bioscience as this will help us support our Ph.D. students in cancer research. This gift also signifies how such public-private partnerships help advance the mission of both institutions,” Prakash said.

The initial beneficiary of the scholarship, Dr. Ahmad Salam, will be completing his pre-doctoral studies in the IBS Ph.D. Program while conducting research on therapeutic compounds with the potential to improve treatments for patients suffering from pancreatic and other solid organ cancers. Dr. Salam, who already has a medical degree (MD), anticipates adding a Ph.D. degree and substantial biomedical research expertise to his practical experience as an urologist. 

The specific compounds Dr. Salam is investigating are small synthetic proteins that mimic the activity of compounds that the human body naturally produces to lessen inflammation following a bacterial infection. Dr. Salam is working under the supervision of co-mentors Dr. Clayton Yates, professor of biology in the CAENS, and Dr. Jesse Jaynes, professor with joint appointments in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAENS) and the Department of Biomedical Sciences (CVM). 

Yates is also one of the lead researchers in the Tuskegee University Center for Biomedical Research/Center for Cancer Research. "For two years now the Center has had a very productive teaming agreement with Riptide Bioscience. I'm hopeful that through this and other affiliations with leaders in the biotechnology industry, Tuskegee will maintain its position of leadership in immune-system related strategies to combat cancer, which is one of the most promising areas in all of medicine right now," Yates said. 

Jaynes developed small synthetic proteins that may have the potential to treat plant, animal and human diseases. "I am glad to see these engineered proteins being investigated right here at Tuskegee. We're beginning to understand how the mechanisms that let the body fight off bacteria and viruses can be turned against cancer cells. The potential to improve the lives of cancer patients is tremendous," Jaynes said.

The head of Riptide Bioscience shares the excitement of the research potential at Tuskegee University. "Tuskegee can be proud of its leading position in this important branch of science. Universities across the country are building research teams in immuno-oncology, but Tuskegee is second to none in this field, with a long history of research supported by highly competitive grants and industry affiliations. We hope that as this field further develops, Riptide can expand its support of the students and faculty involved in this research," said Charles Garvin, CEO of Riptide Bioscience.

“We are excited about this new collaboration between Riptide Bioscience and our university. Not only does it support one of the students in the IBS Ph.D. Program, it also signals a new research initiative which has the potential to significantly improve the health for people everywhere,” said Dr. Deloris Alexander, director of Tuskegee University IBS Ph.D. Program.

To learn more about the Tuskegee University partnership with Riptide Biosciences, contact Dr. Clayton Yates ( or Dr. Jesse Jaynes ( To learn more about the IBS Ph.D. program at Tuskegee University, contact Dr. Deloris Alexander ( or visit