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National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Joyce McDonald
(301) 435-0888

NIH Awards Grant for Pharmaceutical Research at Florida A&M University

The National Institutes of Health announced today the award of a $15 million grant to Florida A&M University (FAMU) to enhance the biomedical research capacity of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The grant will be awarded over five years, with $3.3 million provided this year.

“While our nation’s researchers have made remarkable progress in developing new drugs and in understanding how they act, the challenges that remain are endless,” said Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. “With this grant, researchers will help unlock the mysteries of drug actions and discover new therapies that improve the health of our citizens, with an emphasis on diseases that disproportionately affect minority populations.”

The grant was awarded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCCR), a component of NIH. It will increase FAMU’s research capacity in the areas of drug delivery and neuroscience; provide instrumentation and technical support to assist in the development of new drug therapies for the treatment of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS; provide a molecular laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and research supplies; and establish a Center for Health Research and Bioinformatics to support drug development, translational research, and research on health disparities. In addition, the funding will help develop collaborative pilot research projects that focus on Parkinson’s disease, and improved therapies for the treatment of breast, colon, and lung cancer, as well as other diseases.

The grant was awarded under NCRR’s Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program, which enhances the research capacity and infrastructure at minority colleges and universities that offer doctorates in the health and health-related sciences. Institutions eligible to apply for RCMI grants must have one or more under-represented minority groups that comprise 50 percent or greater of their student body representation. Since 1985, the RCMI program has funded 22 academic institutions, including 11 graduate schools, 7 medical schools, 3 schools of pharmacy, and 1 school of veterinary medicine. Currently, there are 18 RCMI grantee institutions in 10 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Past RCMI grants to FAMU have assisted in the development of a Ph.D. program in Pharmacology; enabled FAMU to graduate 60 percent of the nation’s African American Ph.Ds in the pharmaceutical sciences over the past decade; and contributed to the nation’s biomedical research advances, including the discovery of new drugs.

NCRR is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. NCRR is the nation’s leading federal sponsor of resources that enable advances in many areas of biomedical research. NCRR support provides the scientific research community with access to a diverse array of biomedical research technologies, instrumentation, specialized basic and clinical research facilities, animal models, genetic stocks, and such biomaterials as cell lines, tissues, and organs.

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