A University of Oklahoma research team led by Ann West, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the OU College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a five-year, $10.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to support an Institutional Development Award Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. The IDeA program grant will allow for a greater understanding of human diseases and conditions associated with neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, stroke, chronic and acute bacterial infections. The objective of the grant awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences program is to continue to build and nurture research in structural biology.
"This is wonderful news for the university," said OU President David L. Boren. This grant will enable our team to continue to strengthen an area which is already an area of strong excellence for the institution."
The Oklahoma Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Structural Biology was established in 2012 with NIH Phase I COBRE funding. The center supports faculty research projects and three core facilities on the OU Norman and OU Health Sciences Center campuses for crystallization of macromolecules of biomedical importance, X-ray data collection, protein expression, and purification and biophysical analysis. Structural biology lies at the intersection of many different areas of biological sciences with the potential of impacting numerous biomedically-important fields.
"Speaking on behalf of the entire COBRE team, we are absolutely thrilled that the NIH has renewed our funding so that we can continue building on the successes made during Phase I and launch new exciting projects for our structural biology-oriented programs," said West. "The productivity of the center was outstanding during Phase I (57 research publications and over $7 million in new grants awarded), so we expect to continue on this upward trajectory. I am very excited about the new Phase II grant since this will fund five major research projects, three research core facilities and will continue our strong collaborative ties between research groups on the OU Norman and OU Health Sciences Center campuses."
The NIH Phase II grant will support research activities and career development of junior and early career investigators through senior mentorship and enhanced research infrastructure to compete successfully for external funding; continue to provide state-of-the-art research core facilities in support of structural biology researchers; and continue to promote and enhance the visibility of structural biology in the state of Oklahoma through COBRE-sponsored activities, such as symposia, workshops, pilot project program and undergraduate and graduate research and education programs.
For more information about the NIH COBRE grant awarded to the OU research group, contact West at [email protected] Funding for this grant is supported by the IDeA program from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences under grant number P20GM103640-06.