ISU Headlines

Statewide Biomedical Research Network wins $16.5 million National Institutes of Health grant

Posted May 5, 2009

BOISE – Ten Idaho higher education and research institutions will share a $16.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue efforts to enhance the state’s biomedical research.

Presidents and administrators of the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University, North Idaho College, Lewis-Clark State College, The College of Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University, College of Southern Idaho and Brigham Young University – Idaho attended a celebration of the award at the Boise VA Medical Center Tuesday, May 5. All of the institutions participate in the network.

The renewal grant to the Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or INBRE, supports undergraduate, graduate and faculty research and other statewide efforts. The grant is the third major award for the network founded in 2001 and brings the total federal investment to $40 million.

“INBRE would not exist without the cooperation of scientists and administrators throughout Idaho higher education,” said Carolyn Hovde Bohach, the network’s director and a University of Idaho microbiology professor.

“This network has helped high school students gain a better understanding of science and more than 500 college undergraduates gained laboratory experience,” said Bohach, who joined the University of Idaho faculty in 1990. “For many, that experience influenced them to pursue careers in medicine, science and higher education.”

The NIH Institutional Development Award Program, or IDeA, supports programs in 23 states that have smaller capacities to conduct biomedical research. The program is based in the NIH National Center for Research Resources.

“The INBRE network, which links educational and research institutions throughout the state, provides enriched and distributed opportunities for Idaho students to develop interests and skills in biomedical research and the health professions," said National Center for Research Resources Director Dr. Barbara M. Alving.

"In addition to providing a foundation for career choices for students, the network also provides faculty members with the resources to build collaborations that extend nationally, as well as regionally," Alving said.

In eight years, INBRE outreach has helped to introduce biomedical science to 4,200 students from kindergarten to 12th grades.

In addition to 562 undergraduate college students, the network’s pipeline of educational support also extended to 123 graduate students, eight post-doctoral researchers and 283 faculty members statewide.

In the eight years since its founding, INBRE helped dramatically increase biomedical education and research in the state, Bohach said.

Idaho undergraduates pursuing science and health-related careers nearly doubled from about 1,600 in 2004 to more than 3,000 in 2008. Researchers leveraged $1.2 million in seed grants from INBRE to 67 project proposals that generated more than $26 million in new research awards during those four years.

The proposal’s goals include:

•    Strengthening Idaho’s biomedical research infrastructure and expertise by building on the established INBRE network

•    Supporting Idaho faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students to increase the research base and capacity

•    Providing research opportunities to Idaho undergraduate students and serve as a pipeline for these students to continue in health research careers

•    Enhancing the science and technology knowledge of Idaho’s workforce

•    Expanding Idaho research opportunities across the Western IDeA Region.

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NOTE: This press release was issued on May 5 by the Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. For more information visit www.sci.uidaho.edu/inbre or call (208) 885-5373.  Idaho State University INBRE contacts are Pamela Crowell, vice president for research, 282-3134 or Chris Daniels, director of the ISU Biomedical Research Institute, (208) 282-3324.