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K-State Today

June 5, 2014



Multimillion dollar grant benefits statewide research program, K-State faculty, students

By Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University faculty and students will benefit from a five-year, $19 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health awarded to The University of Kansas Medical Center. 

The grant will continue a statewide cell and developmental biology research program that has brought $64 million into the state since it was first funded in 2001. The Kansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, or K-INBRE is one of the largest biomedical research grants awarded in Kansas.

The network is a multidisciplinary program to enhance Kansas' research capacity through faculty development, retention and infrastructure, as well as inspire undergraduate researchers to pursue careers in biomedical research. Ten university campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma — including K-State — are a part of the initiative.

"The K-INBRE is a unique program that brings together institutions across the state of Kansas and Oklahoma to improve the quality of our research and mentoring that is rarely found at other institutions," said Keith Chapes, K-INBRE undergraduate office director and campus coordinator, and Kansas State University professor of biology. "The strength of the program is that our consortium works together to improve what we can offer. We look forward to another five productive years."

Jim Guikema, associate vice president for research and professor of biology at K-State, said, "Kansas State University is pleased to be a full partner with our statewide colleagues and with the National Institutes of Health in bringing our highly qualified student clients to the forefront of medical science. What we do in Kansas today prepares our students for medical advancements for the state, the nation and the world. This cannot be done without the dedication of K-INBRE staff and of our faculty and scientist colleagues who understand that the future depends upon those that we train today."

The grant will fund numerous research initiatives, including research projects and startup funds for new faculty, postdoctoral fellowships and undergraduate student research projects. The grant also supports translational research partnerships between clinicians and basic scientists, and provides bridging funds for national-level applications that are close to acquiring national funding. A major initiative of the grant is to enhance bioinformatics research in Kansas that builds biological information databases. Known as the K-INBRE Bioinformatics Core, the facility is directed by Susan Brown, university distinguished professor of biology at K-State.

"The INBRE is a critical program for the state of Kansas," said Douglas Wright, program director and professor of anatomy and cell biology at University of Kansas Medical Center. "This award will continue to enhance and strengthen our network of researchers, students and others in the biomedical field, and help researchers in Kansas remain competitive for national research grants."

K-INBRE was originally funded in 2001 as part of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences' Institutional Development Award, or IDeA, program. The award program supports biomedical researchers in 23 states and Puerto Rico that historically have been underfunded by National Institutes of Health research dollars. Throughout its 13-year tenure, K-INBRE has received more than $44 million in funding. This support has assisted researchers in obtaining 189 grants totaling $96.4 million to date.