June 03, 2014
It was just about a month ago that I wrote a newsletter about KU Medical Center's exceptional accomplishments in biomedical research. Today we announced another exciting research success: KU Medical Center has received a $19 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue the Kansas Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE).
K-INBRE is part of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences' Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. IDeA supports biomedical researchers in 23 states and Puerto Rico that historically have been underfunded by NIH research dollars.
K-INBRE is a multi-disciplinary program designed to enhance Kansas' research capacity through faculty development, retention and infrastructure, as well as inspire undergraduate researchers to pursue careers in biomedical research. Ten university campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma are a part of the initiative, which is headquartered at KU Medical Center.
What's truly remarkable is that K-INBRE is one of the longest funded programs in our institution's history. Since it was first funded in 2001, the program has brought $64 million in federal research dollars into the state. The new $19 million grant announced on Tuesday is one of the largest biomedical research grants ever awarded in Kansas.
So what has K-INBRE done with this funding over the last 13 years? First under the leadership of Joan Hunt, now a professor emeritus of anatomy and cell biology, and now helmed by Doug Wright, the principal investigator for K-INBRE and a professor of anatomy and cell biology, the program has allowed us to work with our higher education partners throughout the state, to keep the biosciences in Kansas growing and thriving. Through K-INBRE, we are making sure that future generations of scientists will continue to build healthy communities in Kansas and make world-changing discoveries in the field of biomedical research.
This newest award will continue to enhance and strengthen our network of researchers, students and others in the biomedical field, and help researchers in Kansas remain competitive for national research grants. It also brings together universities in Kansas that work collaboratively to help make students and faculty successful in their research. A great example of how K-INBRE is recruiting promising college science students into careers in biomedical research is the annual K-INBRE Symposium.
The K-INBRE grant will fund research projects and startup funds for new faculty, post-doctoral fellowships and undergraduate student research projects. The 5-year renewed grant also supports translational research partnerships between clinicians and basic scientists, and provides bridging funds for national-level applications that are close to acquiring national funding. A major component of the grant is to enhance bioinformatics research in Kansas that builds biological information databases. Known as the K-INBRE Bioinformatics Core, the facility is directed by Susan Brown, Ph.D., university distinguished professor of biology at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.
KU Medical Center's strategic plan charges us with engaging in astonishing research in all areas of science in a team-based learning environment. With the continued funding of K-INBRE and the dedication of the faculty, staff and students who are part of the program, I know we are well on our way to realizing that goal.