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Colby-Sawyer College Is One of 10 New Hampshire Colleges to Receive National Institute of Health Award for Biomedical Research

NEW LONDON, N.H., Sept. 10, 2010 - With a $15.4-million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Colby-Sawyer College, Dartmouth Medical School (DMS), the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and seven other institutions are forming a network to support biomedical research by faculty and students throughout New Hampshire. For the five-year grant Colby-Sawyer College will receive nearly $1 million in support of its research programs.

This new network, the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), represents a tremendous opportunity for students and faculty at Colby-Sawyer, according to Ben Steele, Ph.D., professor and chair of Natural Sciences. Two of his department colleagues, Professor Bill Thomas, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Nick Baer, Ph.D., will coordinate research projects funded by the grant and hire Colby-Sawyer students to work with them. In addition, students can apply for stipends to work in federally funded laboratories at Dartmouth or UNH over the summer.

“For students, this means immersion in a real research project, part of which can be used for their capstone projects,” says Professor Steele, referring to Colby-Sawyer students' senior year research project. “The grant also will support stipends for students to conduct research with other faculty on campus and funds for capstone research equipment and materials, and travel to conferences, workshops and short courses.”

Students in Colby-Sawyer's science programs, including biology, nursing, environmental science and studies, exercise science, psychology and health studies, are eligible to participate in the research. The grant, provides exciting and unusual opportunities, Professor Steele says, that will provide faculty and students access to resources rarely available at a small college like Colby-Sawyer.

“I am extremely proud of our participation in this important endeavor and grateful to my faculty colleagues who took the initiative to pursue it, ” says Colby-Sawyer President Tom Galligan. “It is an exciting and significant step for Colby-Sawyer and our students. Undergraduate research can open educational, intellectual and professional doors that change lives. This grant is a significant forward step in our college's educational evolution.”

As the lead institutions, DMS and UNH will oversee the awarding of grants and fellowships for INBRE, with the support of NIH's National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). In addition to Colby-Sawyer, the other undergraduate partner institutions include Plymouth State University, Keene State College, St. Anselm College, Franklin Pierce University, New England College, River Valley Community College, and Great Bay Community College.

“The ultimate goal is to provide research opportunities for undergraduates to experience the art of scientific discovery under the close direction of faculty researchers in the state of New Hampshire,” says the New Hampshire INBRE's principal investigator, Ronald K. Taylor, Ph. D, a DMS professor of microbiology and immunology and the director of the medical school's Microbiology and Molecular Pathogenesis Program.

“We also want to retain biomedical investigators in the state to keep and develop the talent we have here. Some of these are researchers who haven't had the experience to get preliminary results that would allow them to compete for research grants on a national level. NH-INBRE will provide resources and develop a statewide research culture that will help to achieve these goals. This changes everything. This provides the opportunities for students to conduct real experiments well beyond just experiencing the typically pre-choreographed lab course.”

Dartmouth faculty and researchers joining Taylor on the leadership team are microbiologist Steven Fiering, Ph.D., as project coordinator; physiologist Robert Maue, Ph.D., as director of research training; biochemist Charles Cole, Ph.D., as director of research projects; geneticist Jason Moore, Ph.D., as director of the bioinformatics core; and Mary Jo Slattery, R.N., M.S., as director of nursing research training. Slattery coordinates nursing research at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

From UNH, geneticist William Kelley Thomas, Ph.D., co-directs the bioinformatics core and Jane Nisbet, Ph.D., serves as vice provost for research.

DMS also is the lead institution for two NCRR-supported Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). Physiologist Bruce Stanton, Ph.D., runs the Center for Lung Biology Research, and DMS Dean William R. Green, Ph.D., is principal investigator at the Center for Molecular, Cellular and Translational Immunological Research. “DMS can take pride in the extra effort that Ron Taylor's team put into assembling this very complicated application,” says Green. “In addition to strengthening existing connections and building new relationships with other New Hampshire institutions, this grant will pave the way for closer interaction with our INBRE neighbors in Vermont and Maine, and with our own COBREs.”

NCRR supports INBREs in eligible rural states through its Division of Research Infrastructure.

“Through the power of shared resources, the INBRE created by this award will strengthen the research infrastructure throughout New Hampshire and the Northeast region,” says NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D. “The bioinformatics core developed by this network will make cutting-edge technologies available to institutions across the state and ultimately speed the pace of biomedical research discovery in New Hampshire and beyond.”

-Kimberly Swick Slover

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000