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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 2, 2009

UI researchers win 11 prestigious NIH Challenge Grants

University of Iowa researchers recently received 11 prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Challenge Grants to investigate areas of inquiry accorded the highest priority by the NIH.

Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the grants focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from financial support to rapidly and significantly advance fields of knowledge.

cohen"These highly selective awards continue to demonstrate the extraordinary competitiveness of our outstanding faculty who are doing cutting-edge research," said Jordan Cohen, interim vice president for research and economic development.

One example of an NIH Challenge Grant received by the UI is a $406,841 grant to Carolyn Brown, Ph.D., and Christopher Turner, Ph.D., both professors in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to help improve hearing for some of the more than 28 million Americans who suffer from some degree of hearing loss. The goal is to optimize the combined use of electric and acoustic hearing by varying the way a hearing aid and/or a new type of cochlear implant -- designed to preserve acoustic low frequencies -- are programmed.

Also, a $457,878 grant to Peter Damiano, D.D.S. and M.P.H., director of the UI Public Policy Center and the center's Health Policy Research Program and professor in the college of dentistry, will explore the disparities in needs, costs and behavior -- taking into account racial, social, economic and other differences -- that influence the timing of children's first preventive dental visit. The goal is to design an intervention with parents and providers to encourage the effective timing of children's first preventive dental visit.

Other NIH Challenge Grant recipients are:

--Beverly Davidson, professor, department of internal medicine, Carver College of Medicine, who received two Challenge grants.
--John F. Engelhardt, professor, department of anatomy and cell biology, Carver College of Medicine.
--Michael Henry, associate professor, department of physiology and biophysics, Carver College of Medicine.
--Barcey Levy, professor, department of family medicine, Carver College of Medicine.
--James Martin, research associate professor, department of orthopaedic surgery, Carver College of Medicine.
--James Torner, professor, department of epidemiology, college of public health.
--Janet Williams, professor, department of nursing, college of nursing.
--Fredric Wolinsky, professor, department of health management and policy, College of Public Health.

Twila Reighley, assistant vice president for research and director of the Division of Sponsored Programs, said, "When the Challenge Grants are added to other ARRA grants, UI faculty and staff have received 130 ARRA-funded grants for research and other programs from the NIH and other federal agencies, totaling almost $53 million over three fiscal years."

The complete list of grants, as well as abstracts describing all funded projects, can be viewed at:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Center One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jordan Cohen, interim vice president for research and economic development, 319-335-2132,; Tom Moore, UI interim spokesperson, 319-356-3945,; Writer, Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, ,