News Release

Monday, November 23, 2009

NIH Awards $20.4 Million for Biomedical Research in Rhode Island and South Carolina

Providing adequate research infrastructure, mentoring and training opportunities for biomedical researchers in the fields of regenerative medicine and stem cell biology are the goals of two new Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) awards announced today by the National Institutes of Health. Administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), the five-year grants totaling $20.4 million have been awarded to Rhode Island Hospital and Clemson University.

The COBRE program supports multidisciplinary centers that concentrate on one core area of research in order to strengthen biomedical faculty research capability and enhance research infrastructure. COBREs are a component of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, which is designed to improve the competitiveness of investigators in states that historically have not received significant levels of competitive NIH research funding.

The new COBRE at Rhode Island Hospital will focus on stem cell biology aimed at identifying unique approaches to tissue reconstruction in lung and marrow diseases. This research may lead to the development of new treatments. One of the main objectives of this COBRE will be to translate basic stem cell studies into clinical trials on tissue restoration or correction.

The Clemson COBRE will concentrate on tissue restoration with the goal of relieving end-stage organ failure and tissue loss. As part of the Clemson COBRE award, several core facilities will be established including a cell and molecular engineering core.

"The COBRE program lays the groundwork to establish and strengthen institutional biomedical research capacity," said NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D. "The awards to Rhode Island Hospital and Clemson will create world-class core facilities and assemble talented investigators with the goal of identifying new health discoveries and treatments."

Through the IDeA program, NCRR supports institutions and communities in 23 states and Puerto Rico with grants to fund multiple areas of research and reach out to diverse populations.

New COBRE Awards: For full descriptions of the following awards visit

Rhode Island Hospital
$11.1 million
Stem Cell Biology: New Directions in Clinical and Basic Research
Principal Investigator: Peter Quesenberry, M.D.

Clemson University
$9.3 million
South Carolina COBRE Center of Biomaterials for Tissue Regeneration (SCBIOMAT)
Principal Investigator: Naren Vyavahare, Ph.D.

NCRR announced last month that 11 of the existing COBRE centers received a total of $117 million in competitive continuation funding. (See

For more general information about the IDeA program, visit

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of NIH, provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the resources and training they need to understand, detect, treat and prevent a wide range of diseases. NCRR supports all aspects of translational and clinical research, connecting researchers, patients and communities across the nation. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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