UNMC receives more than $3 million in recovery act funds

August 05, 2009

UNMC has been awarded more than $3.1 million in stimulus (American Recovery Act and Reinvestment) funding for biomedical research.

The award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will provide funding for up to 67 jobs within the recovery timeframe that extends to September 2010.

Funding fact

According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, each $1 million in research grants indirectly supports up to 34 jobs through services and products purchased in the community.

Tom Rosenquist, Ph.D., UNMC's vice chancellor for research, touted the benefits of the funding.

"This investment in the work of our outstanding corps of researchers will pay dividends in the form of more rapid advances in biomedical sciences and more jobs in the local economy," he said. "This will fund research that will provide important new knowledge in treating staph infections, Alzheimer's disease, lung and respiratory diseases, cataracts and chronic heart problems.

"This is truly a win-win situation for UNMC and for the people of Nebraska."

Dr. Rosenquist lauded U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson for his efforts in support of the stimulus bill.

"We appreciate Sen. Ben Nelson's key role that enabled Congress to pass the economic recovery bill that is providing much needed medical research funding and contributes toward creating jobs through this difficult economic time," Dr. Rosenquist said.

Award recipients and their studies include:

  • Jeff Bose, Ph.D., post-doctoral research associate in pathology and microbiology, received $47,210 to study staph aureus bacteria with the goal of preventing infections and bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
  • Pi-Wan Cheng, Ph.D., professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, received $468,688 to characterize regulation of gene expression to develop new therapies for chronic respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
  • Paul Fey, Ph.D., associate professor and associate director, pathology/microbiology, received $193,932 to study staphylococcus bacteria's resistance to antibiotics.
  • Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D., professor, pharmacology and experimental neuroscience; received $371,250 to study how HIV can induce early onset of Alzheimer's disease and to discover the role of anti-inflammatory drugs in preventing age-related brain disorders.
  • Thomas Jerrells, Ph.D., professor, pathology and microbiology, received $23,760 to study the effects of chronic alcohol abuse on viral lung infections.
  • David Li, Ph.D., associate professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, received $512,475 to prevent and treat cataracts and other ocular diseases.
  • Henry Roane, Ph.D., associate professor, Munroe-Meyer Institute, received $74,250 to study work completion in autistic individuals in response to stimuli that maintain problem behavior as opposed to highly preferred stimuli.
  • Dhirendra Singh, Ph.D., professor, ophthalmology and visual sciences, received $371,250 to evaluate the use of substances that counteract oxidative stress to delay cataract formation and other degenerative diseases.
  • Jim Turpen, Ph.D., professor, genetics cell biology and anatomy, received $640,079 to further develop the research capacity and infrastructure in Nebraska by building the state's research base and capacity, providing research opportunities for undergraduate students, enhancing science and knowledge of the state's workforce and serving as a pipeline for students to enter health research careers.
  • Irving H. Zucker, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of cellular and integrative physiology, received $410,994 to determine if statins benefit patients with chronic heart failure and to uncover new therapies for heart failure patients.

A large number of other UNMC proposals are still pending.

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