Oklahoma City, OK – The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) received $21,243,010 in extramural funding for fiscal year 2001. The more than $21 million represents a 20.1% increase over FY 2000, when OMRF scientists received $17.7 million in extramural funding.
Extramural funding, or grants from federal agencies such as the NIH and National Science Foundation (NSF), includes independent organizations including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association. These grants are extremely competitive, with scientists from OMRF competing against their peers at institutions such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Stanford. Extramural funding also includes monies from pharmaceutical corporations to support clinical trials and various research projects. Charitable gifts from individuals or foundations are not considered extramural funding.
OMRF president J. Donald Capra, M.D. explained the importance of extramural funding by saying “…it’s the lifeblood of OMRF because it accounts for over half of our operating budget. There is no better indicator of the Foundation’s scientific excellence and productivity than extramural funding.”
In the past 12 years, OMRF’s success in attracting these merit-based grants has increased from approximately $8.5 million in 1990 to more than $21 million in 2001. Over the last four years, extramural funding has increased by 64% overall.
Capra explained the importance of such funding on the state’s economy by saying, “…extramural funding for OMRF brought $21.2 million into the state last year. This steady stream of funding means salaries for hundreds of Oklahomans who buy local products and support local services. It means more tax revenues for the state. Just as importantly, this funding creates the kind of dynamic environment that yields new high-tech businesses, attracts commerce from outside the state, and creates more jobs within the state.”
Recent grant awardees include Dr. Ute Hochgeschwender, who received a $65,000 grant from the Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation of St. Louis. Dr. Hochgeschwender, an Associate member of OMRF’s Developmental Biology Program, will use the grant to further her research on the genetics of obesity, hypercortisolism, and diabetes.
While the Mallinckrodt Foundation’s grant is a new addition to OMRF’s extramural funding, long-term funding commitments from the NIH ensure that scientists can pursue their research with continuity. Dr. Paul Kincade, Head of OMRF’s Immunobiology and Cancer Program, has had the same grant from the NIH renewed for 26 years. His research focuses on lymphocytes, primarily T cells and B cells, which are types of white blood cells, the underlying supports of the immune system in the bloodstream.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF is a private, non-profit biomedical research institution which focuses on several critical areas of research including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, stroke, AIDS, children’s diseases and genetic disorders.