Boise State and 12 other universities were awarded a shared 5-year $20-million grant for health research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The grant was awarded in September to the newly-formed 13-member partnership, the Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN).
The grant is made possible by the NIH’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, whose goal is to promote biomedical research by providing resources and support to faculty at universities that historically have had low NIH funding.
Barb Jibben, grant manager and assessment program coordinator in the Biomolecular Research Center at Boise State, expressed her excitement for the new funding and how it will impact the university.
“The grant will help buy equipment for Boise State in order to build the infrastructure in support of faculty to be competitive. There has been a cycle where in order to get funding, there would have to be proven research,” said Jibben. “Hypotheses would need to be turned into publications for credibility. This grant will further that opportunity at Boise State.”
Jibben also highlighted the difference between translational research and pre-clinical research.
“Translational research is different than pre-clinical research. Pre-clinical research is lab work. For example, taking a molecule to record the change in a protein. This is a ‘what it does,’ approach to a lab research. But T-1 translational research is how this lab work translates to a treatment, drug or protocol. This is where the term bench-to-bedside comes from,” Jibben said. “This means that Boise State students are not only able to do lab experiments, they are off the bench. Now they can excel to the next step in their research. This will give students a more competitive edge in getting into medical school when they leave Boise State.”
Harold Blackman Ph.D., associate vice president of Strategic Research Initiatives and advisory council associate, stressed the ultimate goal.
“The higher goal is to accelerate scientific discovery to clinical practice to ultimately improve health in our region,” Blackman said.
According to Blackman, many pilot grants are being proposed by several Boise State researchers including: Hao Chen, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Denise Wingett, director of the Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. program and Sarah Toevs, director of the Center for the Study of Aging.
Jibben explained traditionally the NIH application process takes more than a year to do. Now with IDeA, the grant process will be shortened for these types of projects. Boise State is considered a subcontractor of these grants.