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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 13, 2009

$2.2 million NIH grant supports UI women's reproductive health research

The University of Iowa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has been awarded a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support junior faculty researchers in women's reproductive health.

The grant, effective Sept. 30, establishes the Iowa Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Center, one of 16 such programs nationwide. Funding is provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Office of Research on Women's Health, both part of the NIH.

"This will enhance the reputation and visibility of the University of Iowa as a leader in women's health research," said the grant's program director, Mario Ascoli, Ph.D., UI professor of pharmacology and an expert in reproductive biology.

The grant will fund protected research time and resources for three junior faculty physician-scientists at all stages of women's reproductive health and medicine, from basic research to designing clinical trials. Research supported by the grant can include maternal-fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility, as well as other areas such as infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease, where findings apply to women's reproductive health issues, Ascoli said.

"Our junior faculty are key to developing new treatment options as well as translating these findings to medical practice. This program's goal is to strengthen the field of women's reproductive health by establishing a well-trained pipeline of physician-scientists going into the future," said Kimberly Leslie, M.D., UI professor and head of obstetrics and gynecology and principal investigator for the grant.

The program's first junior faculty physician-scientists, known as "scholars," could be selected by the end of the year. Senior scientists and clinical investigators in the UI Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health will serve as mentors. The scholars also will benefit from internal and external advisory committees, and will attend an annual meeting of the 16 NIH-funded programs in the network.

"All of this attention and mentorship helps the scholars achieve true research independence," Leslie said. Scholars can participate in the program for up to five years, unless they secure their own research funding earlier.

The program will involve core laboratory facilities in the Carver College of Medicine and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI, as well as resources of the UI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319-356-7127, Writer: Dawn Goodlove