Senator on our side

Dr. Craig Cady (center) describes to Sen. Mark Kirk the progress Bradley students like Swathy Sreekumar (R) are making in stem cell research.

April 21, 2011

When U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk stopped by Dr. Craig Cady’s biology lab, where collaborative stem cell research has already resulted in a cure for Parkinson’s disease in an animal model, the congressman assumed the researchers in white lab coats must be graduate students, or faculty.

“Actually, I’m a junior – an undergraduate,” said Swathy Sreekumar, who has been working in Cady’s lab since her freshman year at Bradley.

Then the senator met Ryan Niemeier, a freshman biochemistry major, who took a break from filtering brain cells to greet the freshman senator. Grinning from ear to ear, Kirk listened intently as Cady and his students described recent developments in their cutting-edge research.

“I am a passionate supporter of stem cell research and believe that the United States should lead the world in medical technology,” Kirk said, following his visit to the lab. “Backing the National Institutes of Health and our partnership research institutions is critical to maintaining U.S. economic and medical leadership and I think that can happen here at Bradley.”


Senator Mark Kirk visits Bradley

President Joanne K. Glasser led Kirk on a tour of Bradley’s campus April 21, describing along the way the University’s plans for an Engineering and Business Convergence Center and highlighting recent physical and curricular developments on the Hilltop.

“It was an honor to host Sen. Kirk on the Hilltop today and listen to his spirited message of support for the groundbreaking research our faculty and students are collaborating on across campus,” said Bradley President Joanne K. Glasser. “We are privileged to be recognized by a national figure for being on the forefront of medical research and other disciplines crucial to the future of the world’s economy.”

Kirk described Bradley as an economic engine driving the Peoria area and vowed continued support for federal funding of research like Cady’s.

“As we look at the budget, we should emphasize that education, research, and development have a huge economic upside for the country. We’re the nation that invented the telephone, the airplane, the Internet and Facebook, and we want to make sure that that continues.”

While in Peoria, Kirk also attended the dedication of a new Veterans Affairs clinic named in honor of Bradley alumnus and former U.S. Rep. Bob Michel ’48.