New Grants Enhance MU Investigations, Research Centers
Among the highlights of FY 2005 at the University of Missouri-Columbia were a wealth of important new grants, contracts and research center openings.
Last year, for example, a team of MU investigators led by Senior Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Biochemistry Bill Folk celebrated the launch of an International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS), a collaborative research effort between the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
The center, funded by a $4.4 million, 4-year grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, will investigate the effectiveness and safety of medicines used by Africa's traditional healers in treating problems ranging from the common cold to AIDS.
In April the University's efforts to help children with autism and their families received a major boost as MU Chancellor Brady Deaton announced a $8.5 million gift from William and Nancy Thompson to establish the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Autism affects one in 166 individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Children with autism experience impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of repetitive behaviors and interests -- conditions that adversely affect their development, learning and adaptation in the community.
Later in the spring, thanks in part to a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, MU officials broke ground on a new National Swine Research and Resource Center. The center will be a one-of-a-kind facility that supplies genetically unique swine to biomedical researchers across the globe. Because pigs share anatomic and physiologic characteristics with humans, they are ideal models for the study of human diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Swine also have the potential to one day supply donor organs for transplantation.
MU officials last spring also announced the opening of a Nanoparticle Production Core Facility, a facility that will produce a reliable and continuous supply of metallic nanoparticles to help researchers working in nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Already the center has been able to assist scientists using cancer imaging and therapies that depend on applications of metallic nanoparticles, says the facility's founder, Kattesh Katti, professor of radiology and biomedical physics. Facility scientists say funding from the National Institutes of Health will only further enhance these and other projects (see related story).
In addition, just before the start of the fall semester, arthritis research conducted at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Comparative Orthopedic Laboratory received a major boost as officials announced a $320,000 donation from Robert and Judi Reeves of Columbia. The gift will establish the Robert and Judi Reeves Endowment in Arthritis Diagnostics and will fund projects, personnel and equipment directly related to discovering ways to diagnose arthritis while it is still reversible or curable, says the lab's director James Cook, the William C. Allen Endowed Scholar for Orthopedic Research and a professor of veterinary medicine and surgery at MU.
Summary of MU Grants and Contracts, FY 2005