BATON ROUGE - LSU has received an $18.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, to support an Institutional Development Award, or IDeA, Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or INBRE. The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements. IDeA is administered by NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences and is a component of its Center for Research Capacity Building.
LSU's INBRE, named the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, or LBRN, was established in September 2001. This $18.5 million grant was matched by a $1.2 million supplement from the Board of Regents. This is the third five-year grant received for this program. The total funding awarded for the LBRN program is now more than $55 million.
LBRN provides infrastructure support, education, training and research opportunities for students and faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions and fosters connections of primarily undergraduate institutions, or PUIs, with biomedical research intensive universities and institutes within the state. Thomas R. Klei, Boyd Professor in the LSU SVM Department of Pathobiological Sciences, is the principle investigator, and E. William Wischusen, associate professor of biological sciences, is the program coordinator.
"The overall goal of this competitive grant is to facilitate the growth of biomedical research activities in the state," Klei said. "Previous funding enabled the LBRN to establish a strong foundation for interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research, cyber-infrastructure, education, training and mentoring programs. The LBRN programs are poised to increase the biomedical workforce within Louisiana and create a pipeline of needed future research scientists. During the past five years, faculty at the participating PUIs have won 17 federal research awards for more than $5 million. This success will continue as the INBRE grant provides research opportunities for an increasingly diverse pool of both graduate and undergraduate students and faculty and will encourage collaborative research activities."
Extensive research is conducted by faculty and undergraduate and graduate students at seven universities in the state, including Louisiana Tech University, LSU Shreveport, Grambling State University, Southern University, Southeastern Louisiana University and Xavier University. Researchers and students at these schools are paired with mentors and collaborators at the state's biomedical research-intensive centers, including LSU, the LSU Health Sciences Centers in Shreveport and New Orleans, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Tulane Medical Center and Tulane National Primate Research Center. The program also includes an extensive summer research training program for undergraduates and includes students from 23 undergraduate institutions in the state.
"This INBRE, which links educational and research institutions throughout Louisiana, has created a pathway to biomedical and health research careers for undergraduate students," said W. Fred Taylor, who directs the IDeA program at NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "The program has also developed a strong bioinformatics core and cyberinfrastructure capability and has established a collaborative network with nine IDeA Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence to provide basic through translational research experiences. The next phase of funding will enable this INBRE to strengthen and expand on these important activities."
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