Nishi Challenge Grant Among College of Medicine's ARRA Funding
Release Date: 10-09-2009
On September 30, President Obama announced $5 billion in new medical research grants through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), legislation which has already provided $8.2 billion in extramural funding to the NIH to help stimulate the U.S. economy. To date, University of Vermont College of Medicine investigators have received more than $10 million in ARRA funding, including a highly competitive two-year, $1 million Challenge Grant to fund a multidisciplinary neuroscience research project led by Rae Nishi, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology and director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UVM.
As part of ARRA, the NIH designated at least $200 million in fiscal years 2009-2010 for a new initiative called the "NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research." Through this program, roughly 200 grants are being allocated for "Challenge Topics," defined by the NIH as studies that "focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways . . . and should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health." Approximately 20,000 applications were received for this funding.
Nishi's Challenge Grant, titled "Adolescent Brains, Nicotine and Endogenous Prototoxins," aims to gain an understanding of how adolescent brains differ from adults' brains in terms of their greater susceptibility to the addictive effects of nicotine.
"The grant, which is a collaborative effort between myself and five other scientists, will support equipment purchases from two local Vermont companies, as well as create three to four full-time research positions and undergraduate and graduate research opportunities," said Nishi. Collaborators on the grant include Paul Newhouse, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, Alexandra Potter, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, Felix Eckenstein, Ph.D., professor of neurology, Donna Toufexis, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, and Haydeh Payami, Ph.D., an outside consultant who is a genetic epidemiologist at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, N.Y.
Among the many UVM College of Medicine investigators who, in addition to Nishi, have officially received ARRA funding to date are: Gary Mawe, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and neurobiology; Rodney Parsons, Ph.D., professor and chair of anatomy and neurobiology; Christopher Francklyn, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry; Ralph Budd, M.D., professor of medicine and director of immunobiology; Charles Irvin, Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the Vermont Lung Center; Benjamin Suratt, M.D., associate professor of medicine; Teresa Ruiz, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular physiology and biophysics; Marilyn Cipolla, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science; Berta Geller, Ph.D., research professor of family medicine in the Office of Health Promotion Research; Mark Nelson, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmacology; George Wellman, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology; James Hudziak, M.D., professor of psychiatry, medicine and pediatrics and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families; and David Krag, M.D., professor of surgery and Vermont Cancer Center surgical oncologist.
To view the Office of Sponsored Programs weekly report of ARRA awards, visit ARRA Awards Report.