The National Institutes of Health has awarded OMRF a $2.1 million grant to study multiple facets of the process of cell division.
OMRF scientist Gary Gorbsky, Ph.D., will use the funds to pursue general research projects related to cell division, including its relevance to cancer, birth defects and uncovering new knowledge about the basics of how cells divide.
The five-year award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences is part of the institute’s Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award, or MIRA, program. MIRA grants provide a funding stream that allows investigators to use their award to support a wide range of needs instead of limiting their spending to one specific project.
“This grant will allow us to keep an open mind as we go about our research. When we find something interesting, it affords us the chance to chase down those new leads without restrictions,” said Gorbsky, who heads the Cell Cycle and Cancer Biology Research Program and holds the W.H. and Betty Phelps Chair in Developmental Biology at OMRF. “This is how innovations and discoveries in research often happen, and we are thrilled to receive this opportunity.”
The grant will help cover salaries for Gorbsky and his laboratory staff, as well as the purchase of lab supplies and equipment. The NIH states that the increased freedom afforded by MIRA funds can enhance productivity and the likelihood of important, but perhaps unplanned, breakthroughs.
Gorbsky’s goal is to understand how cell division is regulated and how this regulation can become defective in cancer cells and lead to birth defects. Better understanding of these processes might allow researchers to develop novel treatment approaches for these conditions.
“Thanks to this MIRA grant, we will be judged on our research performance and potential,” said Gorbsky. “It’s important to know the basics of how cells divide, and this affords us real freedom to think outside the box and take new approaches to answering these basic questions.”
The grant, number 1R35 GM126980, is from the NIGMS, a part of the National Institutes of Health.