Local Realtor makes $1.2 million gift to aid UC pulmonary research

Cincinnati Realtor Julz Brown has created a $1.2 million planned gift to support research involving the treatment of pulmonary infections at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

The fund will be named after the late Mary Beth Comer, a family friend, who had cystic fibrosis (CF).

As a friend of the Comer family, Brown has been moved to see the deep family bond and continued dedication to local CF fundraising efforts. This sparked her interest in the disease and the desire to help find a treatment.

“While I did not know Mary Beth personally, I was deeply touched that her family has worked on fundraising efforts for more than 40 years,” she said. “It’s amazing when families pull together and this family is the epitome of heartwarming.”

It was serendipitous that Brown found someone working on innovative research in Cincinnati. 

Former doctoral student Cameron McDaniel with Professor Daniel Hassett in his research lab

Daniel Hassett, Ph.D. – a professor in the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology – has patented a potential treatment for pulmonary infection in patients with CF and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Finding his research both fascinating and hopeful, Brown said it made sense to help advance a timely treatment for a disease that impacted the Comer family.

“I’m at the point in my life where I can do something for someone else,” she said. “I think 2020 showed us that we have to help each other.”

Daniel Hassett in his lab

Hassett has developed and patented a novel antimicrobial drug called AB569 that is effective at killing antibiotic-resistant organisms (commonly referred to as “superbugs”). He’s made it his life’s goal to eradicate the bacteria that cause airway-related infections that occur with CF and COPD. His AB569 technology can also be used to treat wounds associated with burns, surgical incisions and diabetic skin ulcers, as well as problematic urinary tract infections. In March, Arch Biopartners Inc., a Toronto-based publicly traded biotechnology company, announced that it entered into an exclusive agreement with UC to license patent claims for AB569. Read more.

“I’m so impressed with Dr. Hassett’s work and I also know that science is impactful but also expensive,” Brown says. “Not only does AB569 help those with CF, but other life-threatening conditions, making it an easy choice for me to support.”

Brown has set up a separate fund supporting Hassett’s research. Donate here.

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