USF Health celebrates NIH stimulus awardees, applicants

Some of the USF Health faculty awarded federal research stimulus funds.

Since this spring, USF Health faculty submitted 116 proposals for economic stimulus funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA applicants gathered Oct. 6 in the USF Health Rotunda to celebrate the fruits of their collaborative efforts – 21 federal research awards totaling more than $4.2 million.

The stimulus grants help support a wide variety of projects, from College of Medicine professor Gary Litman’s studies of the evolutionary origins of genes of immunity to College of Public Health researcher Rita DeBate’s work to create and evaluate a prototype web-based training program that will help dentists and dental assistants identify patients with eating disorders. Maureen Groer, director of the College of Nursing’s Center for Women’s Health Research, will use the award to supplement research examining the influence of breast feeding on postpartum stress and immunity.

Dr. Phil Marty spoke about research on the rise at USF.

“This was an opportunity in which faculty and staff from both sides of campus came together and put in tremendous time and energy needed to get a lot of excellent research proposals out the door quickly,” said Phillip J. Marty, PhD, associate vice president for the USF Health Office of Research. “Our efforts were successful.”

Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, vice president for USF Health and dean of the College of Medicine, also thanked all who collaborated to submit proposals under a time crunch. “I’m proud of our faculty and appreciate very much all the hard work by the USF Health Research Office and Sponsored Research staff,” he said. “Even the grants we did not get have raised some opportunities for us.”

ARRA funds were dispersed from various institutes and centers across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by Sept. 30 with the goal of moving the economy and stimulating jobs through research.

Dr. Stephen Klasko thanked all applicants and awardees for their hard work.

The reception recognizing ARRA applicants and awardees was part of ResearchONE, a week of events, Oct. 5-9, highlighting USF’s vast research enterprise and showcasing cutting-edge projects by both the campus community and the Tampa Bay region.

ResearchONE this year came on the heels of USF being named in The Chronicle of Higher Education as the fastest-growing university in the nation for federal research expenditures between 2000 and 2007. Simply translated, that means that during those seven years, no other group of faculty had a faster rate of earning new federal sponsorship for the discovery and creation of knowledge.

Research staff from USF Health and USF Sponsored Research worked with faculty to help get ARRA proposals out the door within a tight timeframe.

USF also recently announced a new record in research funding, $380.4 million in 2008-09 — a $20 million increase over the previous year. USF Health’s colleges of medicine, nursing and public health attracted more than $232-million in research awards, or 61-percent of USF’s total awards.

For a full list of USF’s NIH stimulus grant recipients (as of Oct. 2, 2009) compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, click here.

L to R: Thomas Unnasch, PhD; who received ARRA awards supplementing his research with onchocerciasis and Eastern equine encephalitis, chats with Boo Kwa, PhD, and Matt Rollie of the Department of Global Health.

- Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications
– Photos by Gil Williams, Gil Williams Photography