School of Medicine
Area of interest
Dr. Orringer's research activities have focused primarily on the membrane transport properties of the normal human erythrocyte and on its disordered physiology in a variety of pathological states, especially sickle cell disease. Dr. Orringer received a Research Career Development Award from the NHLBI in 1982, and he has consistently held peer-reviewed grant support from the NIH for the past 24 years. Upon assuming the Directorship of UNC's GCRC, Dr. Orringer began to focus more and more of his efforts on clinical and translational research. He was a national leader in the NIH-funded clinical trials that demonstrated the ability of hydroxyurea to reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes of painful vaso-occlusion and acute chest syndrome in patients with sickle cell anemia. He is currently working on the development of novel pharmacological agents that also appear to be quite promising in this clinical setting. It is of note that Dr. Orringer currently serves as the PI on NIH grant awards to UNC totaling almost $11 million for this fiscal year, making him the leader among UNC's faculty. Finally, he is among the top 2.5% of all NIH awardees in terms of NIH grant dollars received during the 25 year period between 1979 and 2004.
In addition to his own research activities, Dr. Orringer has been consistently involved in the training of young investigators. He has for years been a participant in numerous NIH-funded pre- and post-doctoral training programs. In 1995, Dr. Orringer assumed the Directorship of the UNC MD-PhD Program which, under his leadership, has grown from 12 to 63 students. Two years after taking on this new role, Dr. Orringer and his team wrote a successful Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) grant, an award that has enabled the enrollment of the UNC MD-PhD Program to grow to its current level. This MSTP grant was recently re-funded with a doubling of the number of slots over the next 5 years.
Dr. Orringer is also the Principal Investigator on numerous other grants and contracts from the NIH. One notable example is a K12 award supported primarily by the Office of Research in Women's Health (ORWH) that is entitled: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (or BIRCWH). UNC is in the 6th year of this award that has provided support to over 20 junior faculty members, all of whom are committed to research careers in the area of "Women's Health." He is the PI on a second K12 award from the NIH, this one entitled: Mentored Clinical Research Scholar Program Award. UNC is in the 4th year of this institutional career development program that supports at any one time a total of eight physicians and dentists who are seeking to develop the skills needed to become independent, patient-oriented clinical investigators. Dr. Orringer recently received a third K12 training award, this one an NIH Roadmap grant that is entitled: A Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Award. This third K12 award was funded in September 2005, and UNC has just now recruited its initial cohort of eight scholars who will begin their training in July 2006.
Awards and Honors
In recognition of his life-long achievements, Dr. Orringer was recently named the 2006 recipient of the Philip Hench Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University of Pittsburgh. This award is given annually to a graduate of the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.