Premature birth, babies born before 37 weeks, can cause serious health problems for the half a million babies born early every year in the U.S. Health risks for premature babies include cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, vision and breathing problems, and hearing impairment. There are many different factors that can lead to preterm birth, but most of these factors are poorly understood. Further research is clearly needed to help better understand the causes of premature birth to lead to preventative methods. The March of Dimes Foundation of Philadelphia recently announced that it will donate $10 million over five years to establish a new Prematurity Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. (Picture on right courtesy of Jennifer of Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.)
The new Prematurity Research Center will be a collaboration between researchers and physicians at two Philadelphia Institutions: The University of Pennsylvania Hospital and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The University of Pennsylvania is a world-class research institution with over 100 different research centers that cover all aspects of the life sciences, including:
- Alzheimer's Disease Center
- Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
- Center for Genetics and Complex Traits
- Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter
- Research Center in Oral Biology
The new Prematurity Research Center will add another research center covering a so far unrepresented aspect of life science research to the university.
Once established, the new Prematurity Research Center will work in collaboration with the already established Prematurity Prevention Program in the UPenn Perelman School of Medicine that aims to identify women at risk for premature labor and delivery, and supports and treats these women. The new center will develop projects designed to study the causes of preterm birth and find new methods to prevent it. (Image on left courtesy of Wikimedia)
There will be three main themes studied at the new $10 million center:
- Bioenergetics, Mitochondria and Genetics - Study mitochondria abnormalities in both function and DNA that can contribute to premature birth.
- Cervical Remodeling - Study the biomechanical processes that cause the cervix to adjust as the baby grows to identify causes of premature cervical remodeling.
- Placental Dysfunction - Study placentas from babies born early and full-term to see how changes in mitochondria, metabolic patterns, epigenetics and the microbiome may lead to preterm birth.
In total, UPenn receives over $800 million in life science research funding annually. In the 2014 fiscal year, the University of Pennsylvania received $479,508,220 from the NIH in life science funding. The following departments received the most funding from the NIH:
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia)
- Internal Medicine - Received 214 awards totaling $113,451,077
- Pathology - Received 87 awards totaling $53,533,116
- Psychiatry - Received 100 awards totaling $41,044,397
- Pharmacology - Received 37 awards totaling $30,407,124
- Radiation-Diagnostic/Oncology - Received 58 awards totaling $26,921,115
- Anatomy/Cell Biology - Received 37 awards totaling $15,601,334
- Microbiology/Immunology/Virology - Received 49 awards totaling $15,316,714
The University of Pennsylvania is a thriving research marketplace with millions of dollars in funding to support ongoing research, and establish new projects and centers. All this funding makes UPenn an excellent place to market life science lab products to researches. If you are with a scientific supply company interested in selling lab supplies at UPenn, consider attending the upcoming Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at UPenn on May 7, 2015. This 16th annual event brings together over 400 active researchers with science supply vendors, making it nice and convenient for researchers to find the best new products and technologies to use in their labs. Visit the 2015 trade show calendar to learn more about the 50+ events happening around the U.S.
Visit the links below to learn more about exhibiting at the 2015 UPenn event, and to learn more about UPenn research funding: