September 19, 2006

NIH Grants $117 Million in Institutional Development Awards to Underserved States

National Institute of Health Release

Eleven Awards Will Increase Research Capacity and Enhance Competitiveness

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced it will grant $117.3 million to fund four new and seven continuing Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). The awards support multi-disciplinary centers, each concentrating on one general area of research, that strengthen institutional biomedical research capability and enhance research infrastructure.

COBREs are a component of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, designed to improve the competitiveness of investigators in states that historically have not received significant levels of competitive NIH research funding. New COBREs are being established at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center to study obesity and diabetes; the University of Kansas Medical Center to investigate liver disease; the University of Mississippi to conduct neuroscience research; and at the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College to examine infectious pathogens.

Projects receiving continued funding after undergoing competitive review include: immunological research at Dartmouth Medical School; cardiovascular investigations at the Medical University of South Carolina; the study of microbial pathogens at the University of Kansas Medical Center; investigations of the central nervous system at University of New Mexico; neuroscience research projects at both the University of Vermont College of Medicine and the University of Wyoming; and cancer studies at West Virginia University.

"The investigators in IDeA states are successfully leveraging NIH's investment by attracting additional funding and expanding their research endeavors," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "By building on NIH's support, they are also accelerating the pace of research discoveries by making significant contributions to a range of complex health issues, such as increasing our understanding of liver function, the immune system's response to infectious pathogens, and the prevention of heart failure."

Each COBRE includes a principal investigator with established credentials relevant to the center's research theme; three to five individual research projects that share that theme and are supervised by a single junior investigator; and a development and mentoring plan that will prepare these investigators to secure competitive federal research funding.

"These awards will develop core research facilities and provide essential mentoring opportunities for young investigators working in traditionally underfunded states, so that they can eventually compete independently for NIH funding," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR. "By enhancing the intellectual infrastructure and encouraging multidisciplinary interactions, we hope to spur translational research successes and more quickly bring cures and treatments to patients who need them."

For more information about the IDeA program and COBRE awards, visit

New Awards for Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBREs):
Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge, La.)
Mentoring Obesity and Diabetes Research in Louisiana
Principal Investigator: Thomas Gettys, Ph.D.

University of Kansas Medical Center (Kansas City, Kan.)
Nuclear Receptors in Liver Health and Disease
Principal Investigator: Curtis Klaassen, Ph.D.

University of Mississippi (University, Miss.)
Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience
Principal Investigator: Rae Matsumoto, Ph.D.

University of Vermont and State Agricultural College (Burlington, Vt.)
Vermont Immunobiology/Infectious Diseases Center (VIC)
Principal Investigator: Ralph Budd, M.D.

Continuation Awards for Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBREs):

Dartmouth Medical School (Hanover, N.H.)
Center for Molecular, Cellular, and Translational Immunological Research
Principal Investigator: William Green, Ph.D.

Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, S.C.)
Center for Developmentally Based Cardiovascular Diseases
Principal Investigator: Roger Markwald, Ph.D.

University of Kansas Medical Center (Kansas City, Kan.)
Center for Novel Approaches for Control of Microbial Pathogens
Principal Investigator: Opendra Narayan, D.V.M., Ph.D.

University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Integrative Program in Central Nervous System Pathophysiology Research
Principal Investigator: Yoshio Okada, Ph.D.

University of Vermont College of Medicine (Burlington, Vt.)
Center for Neuroscience Excellence
Principal Investigator: Rodney Parsons, Ph.D.

University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.)
Neuroscience Center for Biomedical Research Excellence
Principal Investigator: Francis Flynn, Ph.D.

West Virginia University (Morgantown, W.Va.)
$10,954,240 COBRE for Signal Transduction and Cancer
Principal Investigator: Daniel Flynn, M.D., Ph.D.

Full Description of Projects:

About NCRR
NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. With this support, scientists make biomedical discoveries, translate these findings to animal-based studies, and then apply them to patient-oriented research. Ultimately, these advances result in cures and treatments for both common and rare diseases. NCRR also connects researchers with one another, and with patients and communities across the nation. These connections bring together innovative research teams and the power of shared resources, multiplying the opportunities to improve human health. For more information, visit

Joyce McDonald/Ann Puderbaugh, NIH
(301) 435-0888

Tim Gehret, MUSC
(843) 792-2626