A group of 14 scientists from OMRF is traveling this week to India to meet with researchers at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology.
Last year, the two institutions formed a strategic partnership in cardiovascular research. This trip, which is being underwritten in part by a grant from the Indian government, will allow the OMRF scientists to meet with their Indian counterparts to design specific collaborative research projects.
“Diseases are so complex that it takes teams of researchers across a variety of specialties to make scientific advancements,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., who is leading the OMRF group. “We’ve been preparing for this visit for many months, and we expect that our time together will plant the seeds for a variety of exciting new projects.”
The OMRF researchers will spend three days at the Gandhi Centre, which is located in Trivandrum, the capital city of the state of Kerala in India. Founded in 1991, the Gandhi Centre is a national institute and is home to more than 250 scientists, research staff members and graduate students.
The Oklahoma delegation is composed of cardiovascular biologists whose research is focused on blood disease and atherosclerosis, the build-up of fats in the lining of the arteries that can lead to stroke and heart attack. Their work also involves understanding and controlling blood vessel development, which is crucial to stopping cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Going forward, the institutions will share researchers and equipment. Earlier this year, several faculty members from the Gandhi Centre traveled to Oklahoma to visit OMRF’s labs, and another trip to Oklahoma is planned for next year.
“Even though email and teleconferencing have made this a smaller world, there’s no substitute for the free flow of ideas that happens when people come together face-to-face,” said Prescott. “These exchange visits are an invaluable part of our joint effort to understand the molecular mechanisms of heart and blood diseases.”
Following the visit, several members of the OMRF contingent will travel to other research institutes in India to meet with scientific collaborators and to attend a drug research conference.
In addition to the Gandhi Centre, OMRF has also formed international partnerships with:
– The Institute of Biophysics, Academy of Chinese Sciences in Beijing (structural biology)
– The Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (infectious disease and vaccinations)
“By working with organizations that have similar research interests but take different scientific approaches, it allows us to work more efficiently and make more discoveries,” said Prescott. “We think of it as complementary science.”