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What About the Little Guys?

Spurred on by a discussion in a comment thread on whether NIH is edging out smaller labs because they don't do enough translational work, blogger DrugMonkey takes a look at how many of each type of NIH grant have been awarded each fiscal year. He graphs out RePORTER data at his blog and notes that R15 grants were flat from 2002 to about 2008 and then increased with stimulus funding. In addition CTSA awards increased from 2008 to 2010 while P01 and P50 grants were more variable. "There is no evidence that the mechanism dedicated to funding research at institutions which have $6M or less in research grants in at least 4 of the past 7 fiscal years is being [gotten rid of]," he says.

Mike the Mad Biologist breaks down his thoughts on the matter at his own blog. "I don't think NIH is specifically trying to tank smaller labs. Instead, NIH seems to be reacting to frustration, both within and outside NIH, about the pace (or lack thereof) of translational research," Mike says.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.