ECU scientist receives $250,000 grant for prostate research

Dr. Qun Lu

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Jan. 5, 2012)   —   An East Carolina University researcher is looking at a new type of test for prostate cancer with help from a $250,000 grant from the N.C. Biotechnology Center. 

Dr. Qun Lu, an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, is studying the potential effectiveness of using a certain protein in urine as a non-invasive test for prostate cancer.

His Multidisciplinary Research Grant is among four totaling $1 million the Biotechnology Center announced Wednesday. In addition to Lu’s award, grants of $250,000 each went to two researchers at N.C. State University and one at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The grant program is designed to support development of preliminary data for federal grant applications. The MRG requires North Carolina scientists in three fields to collaborate equally. 

Lu’s research team involves Drs. Qiang Wu of biostatistics, Heng Hong of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Yan-Hua Chen of anatomy and cell biology, all at ECU, and Jeannette Benson, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

“The success of our studies will provide basis for developing clinically applicable prostate cancer biomarker assay in the future,” Lu said in an email. 

The Biotechnology Center is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide. More information about the center is online at