The Presbyterian Health Foundation today announced it has awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation as part of its summer funding cycle.
The funds will support more than a dozen studies at OMRF in areas including cancer, heart disease, lupus and genetic mutations associated with conditions ranging from hearing loss to autism. Grants will also support essential equipment needs at the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit biomedical research institute.
PHF primarily supports the state’s biotechnology, medical research and education organizations, with an emphasis on research and innovation taking place within the Oklahoma Health Center campus in Oklahoma City.
“Our medical research grants offer opportunities for healthcare discoveries through all stages of the medical research pipeline,” said PHF President Rick McCune. “We fund early investigation through our seed grants, keep laboratories operational so investigators can continue their work through our bridge grants and fund collaborative discovery through our team science awards, encouraging researchers to work together across disciplines to advance and strengthen their work.”
PHF grants within Oklahoma now total more than $205 million since the foundation’s inception in 1985. At OMRF, PHF funds have supported work across its research programs and provide critical seed funding for research that bolsters applications for highly competitive national grants.
“The ongoing funding of seed grants from Presbyterian Health Foundation is vital to our research and enables us to be more competitive for national funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources,” said OMRF Vice President of Research Rod McEver, M.D. “PHF’s trust in our scientists and their mission is invaluable and strengthens our focus on innovative discoveries.”
In one OMRF study funded in this slate of grants, scientists are working to identify new targets for medications that would prevent the loss of brain cells in people with Parkinson’s disease and methamphetamine addiction. In another, scientists will examine how a particular kind of estrogen impacts the function of cells, laying the framework for further studies on how this estrogen could reduce Type 2 diabetes and chronic liver disease in males. In both cases, data from the work will be key to applications for additional funding from the NIH.
“Presbyterian Health Foundation’s funding provides a major boost to biomedical research in Oklahoma City,” said OMRF President Andrew Weyrich, Ph.D. “PHF continues to open doors for OMRF scientists in the search for new and better ways to treat disease. Their investments in our labs change the lives of Oklahomans and people everywhere.”