CONTACT: L. E. OHMAN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
UI researchers receive $8 million five-year grant to study gene therapy
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa is one of two institutions
nationwide this fiscal year to receive an $8 million grant from the National
Institutes of Health and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to develop a Gene
Therapy Core Center.
The center is intended to facilitate advances in gene therapy research,
said John Engelhardt, Ph.D., UI associate professor of anatomy and cell
biology and director of the center.
Beverly Davidson, Ph.D., associate professor in internal medicine is
associate director of the center.
"A major focus is on cystic fibrosis, but there is also interest
in the development of gene therapy for other genetic disorders," Engelhardt
said. "The goal of this center is to expand the research base in gene
therapy at UI and help new investigators enter the field of gene therapy."
The center will contain four supporting core laboratories essential
for the development of gene therapy: the vector core, morphology core,
animal models core, and the cell and tissue core. UI researchers studying
gene therapy for inherited genetic diseases and outside investigators affiliated
with the center will use the cores to help facilitate their research.
The grant will also support more than 26 two-year pilot studies over
the five-year period. The studies will include projects proposed by investigators
established in the field of gene therapy research, but who have cutting
edge, high risk ideas that are not mature enough for funding elsewhere,
as well as junior and established investigators in other fields who want
to apply their expertise to a specific problem in gene therapy research.
The center is expected to be operational by November. After the five-year
funding is up, the center will be eligible for competitive renewal.