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The Department of Energy recently gave the University of Georgia, Athens a $3 million grant to conduct bioenergy research. The government has pledged $25 million over the next five years to researchers trying to make biofuel more economically efficient. At $3 million, the University of Georgia, Athens is receiving more than any other university.
A gift to Harvard University for $50 million is slated to be announced Monday. The money will be donated by former Harvard student and businessman Len Blavatnik to help fuel a major enterprise intending to bridge the break between basic biomedical research and the creation of new patient therapies. The gift will also kick-start the creation of a fellowship at Harvard Business School to help life science entrepreneurs by expanding their exposure to life science technologies and research.
The University of Utah College of Pharmacy just celebrated the opening of its new 150,000sf research building, the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute, on Medical Drive South. Located adjacent to the 1965 facility named after the senior Mr. Skaggs, the newly-expanded research institute will continue to advance drug development and teaching excellence, much the way the first Skaggs building vaulted the University into the ranks of top pharmaceutical colleges within a few years of its construction. The college currently ranks #10 out of 125 doctor of pharmacy programs according to US News & World Report. The NIH ranks it #3 in research productivity, and it has been among the top 4 pharmacy colleges in NIH funding every year since 1975. 2012 NIH funding was over $20M. The Skaggs family, through their charitable organization, the ALSAM Foundation, gave $50M towards the building costs of the institute.
For all the excitement there’s been over stem cells in biotechnology (including in our Science Market Update posts- for example Mayo Clinic Spearheads Regenerative Medicine and California to Spend $32M on Stem Cell Research Biobank), one very exciting application for the technology that has been heretofore unannounced is stem cell transplants in the brain. Here to remedy this fact is the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where it was just recently discovered that stem cells can form nerve cells which can actually increase learning and memory capability.
Science researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine were recently awarded $5 million from the NIH to work on a project focusing on a vaccine ingredient that can instigate the sort of immune response that will defend patients against tuberculosis. According to the University of Pittsburgh website, the team will work with researchers at Copenhagen’s Statens Serum Institut. The team from Denmark is working on a new adjuvant that brought on CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses in studies with animals.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine announced the establishment of a new biomedical informatics program this March. The Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI) received founding support from the Smilow Center for Translational Research. According to Dr. J. Larry Jameson, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, the Institute for Biomedical Informatics will "bring together the large number of Penn faculty who work in the broad field of biomedical informatics to inform science and medical care. We will expand the number of faculty even more to create a wide-ranging program of research and education to find and clinically apply the treatments of the future and to train the next generation of physician-scientists.”
A $20 million gift from Philip and Cheryl Milstein to the Columbia University Medical Center was announced recently. The donation will be used as part of an effort to rejuvenate the medical campus with construction of the Medical & Graduate Education Building on Haven Street between West 171st and West 172nd Streets. Administrators at Columbia University Medical Center said the building will include “innovative classroom and study spaces that will incorporate state-of-the-art information technology while facilitating collaborative, team-based learning.” The new building’s function will be the training of students in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the biomedical science departments in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. (Read our earlier blog on this new construction project at CUMC here.)
At Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers have announced the results of an important study showing that high levels of estrogen in the mother during pregnancy can increase a daughter's susceptibility to breast cancer later on. Specifically, the BRCA1 gene is disabled in an estrogen-rich environment, preventing it from carrying out its DNA repair tasks and leaving an opening for cancerous cells to grow. The research was presented at the 2013 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting by Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke (right). The Hilakivi-Clarke Lab is on the same floor of the Research Building as that of Dr. Robert Clarke, who collaborated on the study; the Clarkes both carry out hormone-related cancer research, and Robert Clarke is the Dean for Research at the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).
The University of Cincinnati is making great progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy, developing both an oral vaccine for breast cancer and a vaccine for lung cancer in quick succession. Using unique approaches in both solutions, research teams have overcome some previous obstacles in the field to move forward and fight cancer on multiple fronts.