Simple conversations can sometimes inspire surprising responses. That’s what Professor of Biomedical Sciences Sanjay Kumar learned recently after explaining his team’s work on a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
The study produced promising new opportunities to develop treatments for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). His work caught the eye of the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation (PERF).
Kumar was asked to explain the study to Herbert Winokur Jr., who sits on the the PERF board of directors. Winokur invited along his daughter, Annick, who majored in cognitive studies at Vanderbilt and founded sportsometry.org
Kumar, adept at explaining highly scientific and complex information in an easy-to-understand way, had no expectations. “I just welcome and enjoy the opportunity to talk about the research being done by my team,” he said.
The conversation was appreciated.
“We both were impressed by what you are doing and by your easy manner in explaining to lay people like us,” Winokur wrote to Kumar the next day.
His gratitude, in fact, extended to unsolicited financial support for the Kumar Lab. PERF made a $10,000 gift in recognition of how such research might benefit children suffering from TLE.
“It’s exciting and rewarding to know there are those who believe in the power of research,” Kumar said. “I am truly grateful for their no-strings-attached generosity. This kind of philanthropy reflects in a good way on the caliber of research being done here at the College of Medicine.”