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NIH Awards Nearly $21 Million to Fund Cutting-Edge Research Equipment

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The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced that it will provide $20.65 million for 14 High-End Instrumentation (HEI) grants that will fund cutting-edge equipment required to advance biomedical research. Awarded to research institutions around the country, the one-time grants support the purchase of sophisticated instruments costing more than $750,000.

"These high-performance imaging instruments and other advanced technologies enable both basic discoveries that shed light on the underlying causes of disease and the development of novel therapies to treat them," said Barbara Alving, M.D., NCRR Director.

"The value of this investment in advanced equipment is greatly leveraged because each of these rare tools is used by a number of investigators, advancing a broad range of research projects," Alving added.

The 14 awards in this round of funding will enable the purchase of a variety of sophisticated instrumentation at institutions nationwide.

In order to qualify for a HEI award, institutions must identify three or more NIH-funded investigators whose research requires the requested instrument. Matching funds are not required for these grants, which provide a maximum of $2 million each. However, institutions are expected to provide an appropriate level of support for associated infrastructure, such as building alterations or renovations, technical personnel, and post-award service contracts for instrument maintenance and operation.

NCRR High-End Instrumentation Grants:

• Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, Mass.) $2,000,000. An intra-operative 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging scanner will enable multi-modality navigation techniques for image-guidance during open surgeries, minimally invasive percutaneous therapies, vascular interventions, and thermal ablation of tumors.

• Burnham Institute for Medical Research (LaJolla, Calif.) $1,444,784. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy instrumentation, which plays an important role in the study and characterization of interactions between small organic molecules and macromolecular targets, will be particularly useful in lead identification and optimization processes.

• Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) $928,365. A hybrid linear ion trap-Fourier transform mass spectrometer - equipped with an electrospray ionization source, infrared multiphoton dissociation, and electron capture dissociation - will benefit researchers investigating ischemia and hypoxia, networks and pathways of lysine modifications, and the structural analysis of carbohydrates.

• Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research (Orangeburg, N.Y.) $2,000,000. A 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging system with parallel imaging technology and spectroscopic imaging capabilities will facilitate investigations into micro-structural and gross structural deficits in the brain, as well as the functional consequences of schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, substance abuse, and child psychiatric disorders.

• University of Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.) $924,995. A linear ion trap-Fourier transform mass spectrometer with high-throughput performance, ion cyclotron resonance, high resolution, and high mass accuracy will help investigators solve problems involving detailed structural studies of proteins and protein complexes, identification of post-translational modifications, and structural characterization of other compounds not involving proteins such as drugs and prostaglandins.

• University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, Calif.) $2,000,000. A high-performance, intermediate voltage transmission electron microscope will replace an outdated instrument at the NCRR-funded National Microscopy and Imaging Research Resource, enabling 3-D imaging of sections of cells and biological tissues.

• University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center (Denver, Colo.) $1,067,480 A high-performance linear ion trap-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer - providing enhanced sensitivity, electron capture dissociation, and "top down" mass measurements of intact proteins - will be housed in the cancer center and mass spectrometry/proteomics facility to ensure optimal performance and research productivity.

• University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Dentistry (Farmington, Conn.) $2,000,000. An 800 megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer will facilitate field-dependent studies of relaxation used to probe molecular dynamics, supporting investigations of proteins that participate in repair at the sites of DNA damage, proteins that function as tumor suppressors and their mutants, and enzymes involved in antibiotic resistance, among others.

• University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (Baltimore, Md.) $737,850. A high-speed system for confocal fluorescence imaging, subcellular photolysis, and patch clamp control of single cells will allow scientists to continue studies of calcium signaling at high temporal and spatial resolution in living cells, as well as investigations involving neuronal and brain slice imaging.

• University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio, Texas) $1,950,000. A small-bore, 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging scanner will make possible non-invasive studies of a wide variety of animal sizes and species from transgenic mice to non-human primates, spanning multiple disciplines such as oncology, aging, and neurological and psychiatric disorders.

• University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.) $1,040,735. A pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance/X-band electron nuclear double resonance spectrometer will be used to study the function of enzymes, structural proteins and proteins at DNA and RNA interfaces.

• University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (Madison, Wis.) $1,499,745. A cyclotron and related devices for positron emission tomography tracer development and production will enable molecular level physiological functional imaging to facilitate research involving cancer, neuroscience, cardiovascular, and regenerative medicine.

• Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tenn.)  $2,000,000. A 7 Tesla human magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy system will facilitate research in a number of areas including: the development of advanced imaging and spectroscopic methods; studies of brain structure and function in humans as well as non-human primates; investigations of biochemistry and metabolism in vivo; and studies of cancer and the response of tumors to novel treatments.

• Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)  $1,054,868. New, cutting-edge DNA sequencing/genotyping technologies, which can sequence DNA more quickly and economically than current instruments and will facilitate genome research on several important diseases including epilepsy, psychiatric disorders, autism, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.