National Institutes of Health awards $9.2 million to UH Mānoa

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Sep 15, 2010

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded a $9.2 million grant to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. This three-year grant is awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center of Research Resources (NCRR) to institutions that are part of the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).
The goals of this program include building the research base at institutions and supporting early career researchers trying to become independent scientists. The grant also provides educational and training opportunities for undergraduates to be part of a pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in the health sciences.   The effort is under the direction of UH Mānoa faculty members Drs. Eric Holmes and David Haymer of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at UH Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. 
The Hawai‘i INBRE grant will support researchers and programs on O‘ahu at UH Mānoa, Chaminade University and Hawai‘i Pacific University, as well as several community colleges within the UH system. In addition, researchers at the new UH Hilo College of Pharmacy, under the direction of Dean John Pezzuto, will join forces with researchers on O‘ahu. This support for the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy is intended to give the College an important jump start as it continues to build its research capabilities and infrastructure. This includes funding for renovations of research facilities; instrumentation cores and junior faculty research support at UH Hilo as well as for core facilities at multiple institutions aimed at enhancing their research and educational opportunities. This will also provide opportunities for increased collaborations among investigators in Hawai‘i and institutions on the mainland.
Major themes of this grant focus on neuroscience and natural products research, two current research strengths in Hawai‘i. Within Hawai‘i, a total 14 junior faculty researchers will be supported, with the aim of helping them grow to become independently funded investigators. The objective is to provide funding support to allow these investigators to conduct hypothesis-driven research, the results from which will become the foundation of research publications and presentations leading to independent grant funding opportunities. These junior faculty positions are distributed as follows: three at UH Mānoa, two at Chaminade University, two at Hawai‘i Pacific University, and seven at UH Hilo. This grant will also provide funding for biomedical science enrichment programs at Hawai‘i Community Colleges and will include support for the Kapi‘olani Community College monoclonal antibody development facility as part of their Biotechnology training program.
“This is an exciting chance to create a unique synergy by bringing together talent from across multiple Hawai‘i institutions to address important and relevant biomedical research topics,” commented Gary Ostrander, UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.
The “pipeline” part of the program will also provide research and training opportunities for students at all of the above mentioned institutions.   This will include funding support for summer outreach programs designed for interested undergraduate students from the various campuses in Hawai‘i.  One major focus of the pipeline will be to provide advanced training in bioinformatics and other computer based research methods.