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WVU Institute Snares $19.6M NIH Grant to Develop Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute a five-year, $19.6 million grant to develop an infrastructure for clinical translational research at West Virginia University.

In a statement, the WVCTSI — part of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University — said that the grant would pay for the hiring of 24 physician scientists during the next five years, along with 22 other staff and professional positions, all in an effort to build a framework that would enable WVU to qualify for additional NIH grants for clinical translational research directed at studies into cancer, heart disease, stroke, and obesity-related diseases.

"This NIH grant serves to instantly propel WVU Health Sciences onto a higher level as a research institution," Christopher Colenda, chancellor for WVU Health Sciences, said in a statement. "It will help us to transform lives and eliminate the health disparities in the state."

The principal investigator on the grant is Uma Sundaram, director of WVCTSI.

"Here, as at many other health centers, there is excellent research and excellent patient care. What we need is a stronger connection between the two," Sundaram said. "WVCTSI will become that connection. What that means for the patient is a new approach and new options for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention."

The NIH grant is part of the NIH Institutional Development Award Program for Clinical and Translational Research.

In addition to the NIH grant, a partnership of other schools, institutions, and organizations are providing an additional $33.5 million to the clinical translational research initiative. They include the WVU Health Sciences Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Public Health; WVU Healthcare and the West Virginia United Health System; Charleston Area Medical Center, CAMC Institute; and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Also included are the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; the College of Human Resources and Education; School of Journalism; the College of Business and Economics; the WVU Research Corporation; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and the Governor's Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning.

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