Research lab scientists at Columbia University received $6.3 million in life science research funding this spring for Columbia’s Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery. The research grant was awarded by the administering institute the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine within the Schools of Public Health at Columbia University will use the research funding to advance detection of certain diseases and predict how effective specific therapies can be in prevention and treatment. The Project Information page on the NIH website goes into further detail:
“Accurate diagnosis is essential for proper medical treatment. Often this is confounded by the lack of or limitation of informative diagnostic assays and tools. Infectious agents rarely found in a given community or country commonly are not screened for as multiple single diagnostic assays are cost-prohibitive and tests for the most likely agent is deemed warranted. Yet it is increasingly clear that as infectious agents appear in new geographic regions and contexts, the medical and public heath communities must improve and modernize the methodologies they utilize. The Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery aims to develop, validate and implement multiplex platforms and predictive strategies that will advance detection of novel pathogens, identify host factors that influence susceptibility of disease and predict effectiveness of drugs and vaccines.”
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The project leader directing use of this latest NIH research grant is Dr. Ian Lipkin. Dr. Lipkin works within the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and is recognized globally for his work in molecular methods for pathogen discovery. Outside of his work at Columbia University, Dr. Lipkin is scientific director of the Northeast Biodefense Center, a Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Dr. Lipkin and his team of research lab scientists at Columbia University state that their goals for the research funding allotted to the Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery are as follows:
“We will bring together researchers in the fields of molecular biology, systems biology, genetics, and bioengineering. We will also bring together members of the public health communities and conservation biologists. Together, the investigators in the Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery will advance knowledge and platforms for the detection of agents that are either previously unidentified, known causes of epidemics, or select agents by developing and utilizing systems that could be rapidly redirected for pathogens of any type.”
Columbia University receives a large amount of research funding from funding organizations like the NIH every year. In 2012-2013, the endowment at Columbia University was worth $8.2 billion. That same year, Columbia University received $396.3 million in direct private gifts, grants, and contracts. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health awarded Columbia $349 million in research funding, while the National Science Foundation awarded the university $82.1 million in research grants.
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