OMRF has received notice of the renewals of five National Institutes of Health research grants totaling $14.2 million. The awards range from three to five years in length and will allow OMRF scientists to continue important research on cancer, lupus and heart disease, as well as training programs for junior-level scientists.
“The competition for these federal dollars is fierce,” said OMRF Vice President of Research Paul Kincade, Ph.D. “This is tremendous news for us, because these awards are rare and are a real testament to the high caliber of research underway at OMRF.”
Rodger McEver, M.D., received a four-year, $1.7 million grant to continue his studies of the processes related to inflammation in blood vessels and blood clotting. The renewal marks the start of the 29th year of funding for this project, which McEver first received early in his research career.
“That may sound like a long time to study one thing, but it’s really far more than one thing,” said McEver, who holds the Alvin Chang Chair in Cardiovascular Biology at OMRF. “This work has spun off other important research projects and helped us uncover many interesting and significant findings along the way.”
The new funding will allow McEver to investigate how excessive inflammation and blood clotting contribute to many diseases, including heart attacks, stroke, dysfunction of transplanted organs, deep vein thrombosis, and sickle-cell crisis.
In addition to McEver’s award, OMRF scientists also successfully renewed the following grants:
• With a five-year award, Hong Chen, Ph.D., will continue her studies of epsins, a family of proteins that regulate the formation of blood vessels. Chen and her team are testing epsin-suppression agents to find a possible therapeutic that could stunt the growth of cancerous tumors.
• Errors in cell division are the focus of a four-year renewal for Dean Dawson, Ph.D. A missing or extra chromosome can lead to birth defects, genetic disorder or cancer, and Dawson will continue to explore the process and look for ways to prevent common mistakes in cell division.
• Patrick Gaffney, M.D., was awarded $9.4 million for renewal of two grants. The first continues a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant to support junior investigators as they launch independent careers in Oklahoma. In the second, Gaffney will move ahead with his studies of TNFAIP3, a gene his lab identified that has been associated with rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. His goal is to identify possible therapeutics for controlling the effects of the gene.
“Research takes time, and key findings often happen along the way and in unexpected places,” Kincade said. “By providing significant new funding for these projects, the National Institutes of Health is opening doors to a wide range of possible discoveries.”
Funding for the research is provided by grant Nos. 2R01HL093242-06 and 2R01HL034363-29 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, grant Nos. 2R01GM087377-05 and 1P30GM110766-01 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and grant No. 2R01AR056360-05 from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, all parts of the NIH.