INBRE Summer Scholars worked on research projects with mentors at Christiana Care Health System, one of the partnering institutions in the Delaware INBRE program. One of the goals of Delaware INBRE is to create a strong biomedical research capability in the state.

INBRE funding

$18.2 million NIH grant supports Delaware INBRE biomedical research efforts


10:05 a.m., Sept. 19, 2014--Delaware INBRE will continue its collaborative efforts to increase biomedical research capability, improve disease outcomes and drive economic growth through its statewide network, thanks to a five-year, $18.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The funding, administered by the National Institute of General Medical Science’s Institutional Development Award program -- known as IDeA -- makes it possible for Delaware-based researchers in academia, health care and industry to establish impactful, sustainable and world-class research centers. It also builds the academic and research pipeline in Delaware by creating undergraduate research opportunities and mentorship for early and junior-level scientists. 

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“The grants supported through the Delaware INBRE grant and subsequent federal funding awards will make a substantial contribution to the region’s economic development,” said Charles G. Riordan, vice provost for research at the University of Delaware. “Delaware residents will benefit from the latest health care research and new business and job opportunities will be created that are associated with health care innovations.” 

In addition, Delaware will contribute an additional $5 million, bringing the funding total for Delaware INBRE to more than $23 million during the five-year period, which began this month. 

INBRE stands for the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, and its goal is to grow statewide research capacity through collaborations in research, professional development, equipment and infrastructure purchases and mentoring. 

“Delaware has incredibly talented professionals with an enterprise-oriented attitude,” said Steven J. Stanhope, associate vice provost for research at the University of Delaware and principal investigator of Delaware INBRE. “We have broken down barriers between institutions and created model systems for how to develop partnerships. Our researchers are really unmatched in their abilities to partner across our great collaboration state.”

Delaware is one of 23 states and Puerto Rico that receive IDeA grants, which aim to build research capacities in states with historically low levels of funding from the National Institutes of Health. The grants support basic, clinical and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.

The First State has received more than $136 million in IDeA funding, making it a top recipient of these awards. 

This is the second renewal for the Delaware INBRE program, which represents a collaboration with six statewide research institutions -- the University of Delaware, Wesley College, Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware State University, Christiana Care Health System and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. 

“INBRE, which links educational and research institutions throughout Delaware, has created a pipeline to biomedical and health research careers for undergraduate students,” said W. Fred Taylor, director of the IDeA program at NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. “The next phase of funding will enable this INBRE to strengthen and expand on these important activities.”

The grant will fund two rounds of 12 investigators who are focusing on research in cancer, cardiovascular health and neuroscience, along with the purchase of additional research equipment. Half of the INBRE investigators are women, and the IDeA program aims to increase diversity among its participants. 

More than 1,000 students have participated in Delaware INBRE’s annual summer research program that pairs them with a research mentor. Undergraduate participants in the INBRE program have a 97 percent graduation rate. But the impact goes beyond the academic world. 

“We’re improving patient care with the work that’s going on here,” said Scott Siegel, director of cancer psychology at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute and an INBRE principal investigator for Christiana Care Health System. “Students are getting the experiences they need out of this, but we as institutions are benefiting directly.” 

Delaware INBRE also is helping to drive economic growth in the First State, an effort that will gain even more momentum with continued collaborations in the bioscience industry. To date, the program has created more than 1,500 one-year jobs and led to $108 million in subsequent awards and funding. 

“The life sciences industry continues to flourish in Delaware. And with collaborations and programs like Delaware INBRE, we are planting the seeds to grow our future with promising entrepreneurs, scientists and health professionals,” said Bob Dayton, president of Delaware BioScience Association, a non-profit trade association. 

“We are growing the pipeline of researchers and creating opportunities for industry and academics to work together,” Stanhope said. “This is the impact of the IDeA program in Delaware.” 

Article by Kelly Bothum

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