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Release: Dec. 15, 1999

UI receives $2.6 million grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa College of Medicine has received a four-year, $2.6 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to strengthen the college's research programs in molecular medicine and molecular neuroscience.

The UI College of Medicine is one of 41 colleges to receive funding this year from the HHMI's Biomedical Research Support Program for Medical Schools. In all, 105 medical schools submitted applications for the awards.

This is the second time that the UI College of Medicine has received the biomedical research funding, making the college one of only 14 public colleges to receive the award twice.

"The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is the premier private medical research institute in the world," said Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine. "The receipt of this award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a tribute to our faculty scientists and reaffirms the University of Iowa's position in the front ranks of biomedical research."

The College of Medicine plans to use the grant money to recruit exceptional young faculty scientists, to establish novel pilot research projects that involve new collaborations designed to bridge disciplines, and to purchase equipment to strengthen core research facilities that support molecular medicine and neuroscience.

"We intend to utilize the monies to build on our scientific strength in molecular medicine and molecular neuroscience under the leadership of Beverly Davidson, Michael Welsh and Kevin Campbell," said Allyn Mark, M.D., associate dean for research and graduate programs at the UI College of Medicine.

Davidson, Ph.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine and neurology, spearheaded the UI College of Medicine's grant application efforts. In addition to providing funding through its Biomedical Research Support Program for Medical Schools, HHMI also supports investigators at academic medical centers and universities who do research in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology. Welsh, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine, and physiology and biophysics; and Campbell, Ph.D., UI professor of physiology and biophysics, and neurology, currently serve as HHMI investigators.

According to the award announcement, the UI College of Medicine succeeded in securing the $2.6 million because of the college's past performance. The college received the same award in 1996 to strengthen its research involving cellular communication and the molecular biology of gene identification and function.

"The (latest) proposal demonstrates excellent implementation of the previous award," one of the application reviewers wrote.

HHMI, based in Maryland, was founded in 1953 by the famous aviator-industrialist Howard Hughes to promote basic sciences and the effective application of findings to benefit humankind. In addition to Welsh and Campbell, Val Sheffield, M.D., UI professor of pediatrics, serves as an associate investigator.

 

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.