Sunday, June 28, 2009

Universities Receive Funds

Stanford University School of Medicine projects that had been stalled by budget shortfalls at NIH are now moving forward with $6.9 million in federal stimulus funding. Up to now, eleven of the newly funded projects have been peer reviewed and approved. Another six projects involve seeking supplemental grants to existing projects.

The biggest grant $1.6 million from the National Library of Medicine was awarded to Amar Das, M.D. PhD. Assistant Professor of Medicine and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. The funding will enable researchers to develop methods so that scientists in the biomedical community can better understand disease patterns by extracting time-related and other useful information from large databases.

For example, the researchers have been working with the NIH-supported National Database for Autism Research. The information available from the database will help researchers examine neurodevelopmental problems in children and how they might be related to biological markers and imaging findings.

Dr Das reports that the grant originally was submitted as a three year project, but that he compressed it into two years to fit the stimulus program guidelines. He is planning to hire two new people to work on his staff, a software engineer and postdoctoral scholar, at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research.

The University of Colorado received 33 grants totaling $12.7 million in stimulus funding mostly from NIH. The money will be used to support research on determining the cause of birth defects and to find ways to have better outcomes for patients suffering from lung ailments caused by life support machines.

For example, Mark Moss, M.D. a pulmonary critical care doctor at the University of Colorado Hospital and Professor in the UC Denver School of Medicine with $ 3 million in funding, will lead a five year clinical study to look at a dysfunction of the nerves or muscles called polyneuromyopathy, which is often a consequence of being on mechanical life support for seven days or more.

The funding was made available through the National Institute of Nursing Research and will pay for the first two years of the study to start July 1. The researchers will work with 400 patients to find a less invasive way to diagnose the condition and try to find out if intensive physical therapy will improve patient outcomes. NIH funding will also pay for the final three years of the study as well.

Dr. Moss told the Governor’s office that ARRA enables him and his colleagues to obtain research funding much faster than would have been possible otherwise and to start the study sooner.”