Dr. David Canning


The Houston Endowed Chair in Pre-medicine 

is held by Dr. David R. Canning, associate professor of biology. Dr. Canning was appointed to the Dr. Hugh L. and Hontas K. Houston Endowed Professorship in Pre-Medicine in August 2010. Dr. Canning joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Murray State University in 1997. 

Dr. Canning's research expertise is in the area of stem cell biology, a highly pertinent topic related to medical sciences. Aspects of his past research have been published in high-impact journals, including Science, Nature, Experimental Neurology and Developmental Dynamics, demonstrating his capability to perform and publish research at the highest level. He has been successful at funding his research program at Murray State University with multiple federal grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kentucky EPSCOR and several private foundations. Dr. Canning has been a reviewer for the journal Development and several grant agencies including the Wellcome Trust (United Kingdom). Dr. Canning has also been a member of the Advisory Board of the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network. He has also collaborated with several faculty at Murray State University to obtain research and curriculum development funding, including course, curriculum and laboratory instrumentation grants from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Canning has also formed collaborations across the state with faculty at the state medical schools and regional universities, including the Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Spinal Cord Regeneration and the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network which led to funding of several College of Science, Engineering and Technology faculty research projects and research infrastructure at Murray State University.

Dr. Canning has an ongoing research program aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms controlling neural stem cell differentiation. Working with both undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Canning's research has resulted in the identification of several molecular factors that inhibit neural stem cells from differentiating into neurons. His laboratory has identified specific genes which delay expression of molecules controlling differentiation of neural stem cells. This work has been presented at conferences by students working in his laboratory and published in Journals. 

Dr. Canning has carried a full teaching load in the Department of Biological Sciences over the last academic year. Along with teaching introductory courses, he teaches courses in the area of cell and molecular biology at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Dr. Canning has led initiatives to reinvigorate the pre-medicine, pre-dentistry and related pre-health professional programs at Murray State University. Most significantly, Dr. Canning has helped to create the PreHealth Professional Program at Murray State University. This organization has adopted the mission to assist students in preparing for entrance to health related professional schools. The primary focus of the program is to assist students working on a career path to medical school, dental school or optometry school. The PreHealth Professional Program provides students with committee evaluations, advising sessions, internships and coordinates review sessions for the MCAT and DAT professional exams. As part of the PreHealth Professional Program, Dr. Canning is acting as co-advisor to the student run pre-professional club with the Logan Endowed Chair (Dr. Ricky Cox). The club has many activities providing pre-health students various types of pre-health professional information and experiences. Dr. Canning holds the position of Murray State University representative to the American Association of Medical Schools (AMCAS). 

Dr. Canning is the Director of the CSET Jones Scholar Program. This program, supported by a generous endowment from Dr. Jesse Jones, awards scholarships to students who have been identified as potential leaders in science careers. As Director, Dr. Canning coordinates scholarship awardees working as academic interns with faculty mentors in the College.

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