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ASU, UA awarded $2 million to fund joint biomedical research projects

March 01, 2007

Researchers at The University of Arizona and Arizona State University have been awarded more than $2 million to fund collaborative biomedical research projects designed to accelerate the translation of research discoveries to the clinic and target diseases such as asthma, Parkinson’s disease, valley fever and cancer.

“This new collaborative endeavor brings together some of the brightest minds in Arizona to tackle a number of important health care needs and further stimulate the rapid statewide expansion of biomedical research,” says Jonathan Fink, vice president of research and economic affairs at ASU.

“If the number of applications we received is any indication, UA and ASU faculty are very enthusiastic about working together to advance human health. This initial funding makes these faculty collaborations possible and paves the way for future funding from federal sources,” says Leslie Tolbert, vice president for research at the UA.

The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), through the use of the voter-approved sales tax increase that created the Technology Research Infrastructure Fund (TRIF), approved the allocation of funds to promote cross disciplinary research projects between ASU and UA, with a strategic emphasis on building collaboration between ASU’s Biodesign Institute and UA’s BIO5 Institute in the initial year of funding.

A total of 10 research projects involving co-principal investigators from both universities will receive funding in the next year, with researchers at ASU’s Biodesign Institute and UA’s BIO5 Institute receiving nearly $1.2 million for four of the 10 research projects. The awards are designed to provide “seed money” to researchers for “proof-of-concept” projects and leverage further investment through external funding from federal granting agencies and industry. An additional $800,000 has been designated for six projects. The awards encompass a broad range of disciplines and expertise at both universities including chemistry, engineering, radiology, medicine, basic sciences and optical sciences.

“BIO5 and Biodesign have complementary strengths that are being combined for the benefit of the state of Arizona,” says BIO5 Director Vicki Chandler.

“The strategic partnerships established between Biodesign and BIO5 will leverage our citizens’ investment in the significant expansion of university research capacity to improve the quality of life,” says George Poste, director of the Biodesign Institute.