July 22, 2004

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Contact: Bob Hallinan, KU Medical Center, (913) 588-5246.

Record $18M federal grant boosts biomedical research in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The National Institutes of Health has awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to further life sciences research at the University of Kansas and throughout Kansas. It is the largest grant ever awarded to a Kansas university.

The five-year, $18 million grant has been awarded to Joan Hunt, principal investigator and senior associate dean for research and graduate education at the KU School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan.

The Kansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) grant will continue the work started by $8.2 million in Kansas Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (K-BRIN) grants, first awarded to Hunt in 2001. These grants helped to establish a cooperative intercampus biomedical research program at nine campuses throughout Kansas.

"K-BRIN and K-INBRE grants help us develop life sciences researchers in Kansas, foster communication among researchers throughout the state, attract and keep the brightest students and faculty, and strengthen our investment in Kansas biomedical research initiatives," Hunt said.

Recipients include the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., KU in Lawrence, Kansas State University in Manhattan, and Wichita State University, all of which award doctorates in biological sciences, and undergraduate programs at Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Pittsburg State University and Washburn University in Topeka.

"Sharing state-of-the-art technology and experimental strategies as well as increasing training opportunities will strengthen Kansas universities' capacity to conduct competitive, leading-edge biomedical research and the ability of our researchers to win federal grants," Hunt added.

Examples of current programs funded by these grants include:

 • Developing bioinformatics capacity at KU, Kansas State and Wichita State, the state's three universities that offer graduate degrees -- a first for the state. The technology applies computer power to analyze massive amounts of research data -- a new and powerful tool for researchers that was developed after the completion of the human genome project. Instruction is carried throughout the state by the TeleResearch Network. This interactive network fosters collaboration among students and faculty in ways never possible before K-BRIN funding.

 • A Faculty Scholars Program that awards $10,000 to outstanding faculty who demonstrate excellence in research, teaching and service to the state's universities.

 • A Summer Scholars Program that awards 30 students at eight state universities a $3,000 stipend each to pursue research projects in basic and clinical science.

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