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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation gets $7.8 million grant

The grant from the National Institutes of Health will help five Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientists jump-start new projects over the next five years.
BY GREG ELWELL Published: April 2, 2013
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• Roberto Pezza, Ph.D., is studying how chromosomes are separated during the formation of gametes and how errors in the recombination of DNA that occurs during the process can lead to birth defects.

• Chris Sansam, Ph.D., uses zebrafish to study how cells respond to DNA damage. His studies could be the key to understanding how chemotherapy affects noncancerous cells and what can go wrong during embryonic development.

• Weidong Wang, Ph.D., is trying to develop a way to transform skin cells into insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells, which could be transplanted into patients to combat diabetes.

• Jonathan Wren, Ph.D., will head a new Bioinformatics and Pathways Core which will assist the investigators with novel tools for data analysis and hypothesis testing.

“This COBRE will foster research in developmental biology, improve Oklahoma's research infrastructure and address the health needs of the state's residents, including those in rural and medically underserved communities,” said Fred Taylor, Ph.D., an IDeA program official at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will provide funding to scientists each year for up to five years, though if a researcher garners new grants, they can be phased out of the COBRE to make room for another junior investigator, Thompson said.

Research reported in this release was supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM12345.

Greg Elwell is a Public Affairs Specialist at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.