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JABSOM awarded $18.4 million to fund Hawai`i Statewide Research and Education Partnership

The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has been awarded $18.4 million over five years for a “Hawai`i Statewide Research and Education Partnership” (HISREP) under the IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Robert Nichols. The Program Coordinator is Dr. David Easa.

The Hawai`i INBRE program has been supported for over 10 years by the National Institutes of Health and has recently received an additional five years of support. The current grant will be devoted to fostering biomedical careers among students at our partner institutions. The partner institutions include the University of Hawai’i at Hilo College of Pharmacy, Chaminade University, Hawai`i Pacific University, and the U.H. community colleges (Kapi’olani CC; Windward CC; Leeward CC; Hawai’i CC; Maui College; Kaua`i CC).

In the previous round of INBRE funding, development of state-of-the-art facilities and support for entry-level junior investigators were provided at our primarily undergraduate-based partner institutions in order to help create a foundation where students can participate in cutting-edge biomedical research. A major emphasis for the research among our partners will be to bank on the unique resources in Hawai’i with regard to marine and plant life for discovery of natural products with potential application as biomedicines. A second emphasis will be to investigate health disparities arising in our unique and highly diverse population.

According to Dr. Robert Nichols, Principal Investigator, “Students in our program, who may, in fact, be the first in their family to attend college, now have the exciting opportunity to pursue biomedical research as a career.”

“In conjunction with activities in the basic and clinical sciences including our other IDeA program Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBREs) in Cardiovascular Research, Infectious Disease and Reproductive Biology, our Research Center for Minority Institutions (RCMI), our RCMI Clinical Translational Research Center (RCTR RMATRIX) and our Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research (CNPHDR), INBRE III-HISREP will help nurture the next generation of biomedical scientists across our islands,” Dr. Nichols said.

Pictured left to right:  Dr. Robert Nichols (Principal Investigator); Dr. David Easa (Program Coordinator); Dr. Helen Turner (Director of Research Development); Kari Kim (Program Administrator); Mari Rayner (Assistant Administrator); Dr. John Chen (Director of Biostatistics); Dr. Stephen Itoga (Co-Director of Bioinformatics).

This article by Tina Shelton originally appeared on the JABSOM news website UHMedNow (October 6, 2013).