NDSU Biomedical Research Facility Receives $4.9 Million Grant
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 16:11
The Center for Protease Research, a biomedical research facility on the NDSU campus, has received a $4.9 million grant, the third in a five-year grant cycle from the National Institutes of Health.
Since 2001, the Center for Protease Research (CPR) has received approximately $24 million from the NIH for their work with protease research.
Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins by hydrolysis of the bonds that link the protein together. This process is called proteolysis. Enzymes are biological molecules that conduct a variety of chemical reactions to sustain life.
Dr. Mukund Sibi, a university distinguished professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry and the leader of the research team that received this grant, said that proteases are necessary for many physiological events.
In the past, the CPR has used grant money in a wide variety of ways. Sibi said that one of the biggest things it does is provide infrastructure for the University.
A lot of the equipment used in biomedical research is difficult to obtain as an individual, so the center has two core facilities -- a biology facility and a synthesis facility -- that have this physical infrastructure to assist researchers, Sibi said. He noted that the grant helps provide human infrastructure in the form of personnel, as well.
The grant money also helps fund fundamental research for faculty members in a wide variety of biomedical science, such as researching cures for cancer, asthma and hypertension.
One of the earliest things that the center looked at was arthritis, but Sibi said the main focus of most research is searching for a better understanding of cancer.
The CPR also provides funding to students for research. This funding is not just limited to graduate students, however; Sibi said that undergraduate and even high school students can receive funding for research.
He also said that every summer, the center brings students from across the country to participate in research.
Aside from infrastructure and research, the CPR also puts on workshops, meetings, seminars and conferences relating to topics in the biomedical field. Some of the workshops include instructing researchers how to write a grant proposal or a manuscript.
“The dollars are large, but at the same time we use them for a lot of different things,” Sibi said.
Sibi explained that when an agency gives grant money, there are certain goals that the agency wishes the recipient to achieve.
For the first ten years of the NIH grant cycle, most of the money was spent on basic research and infrastructure. Now that the CPR has become more established, this grant is mostly for maintaining infrastructure to become more independent.
Another goal of the grant is to provide seed money so that researchers can conduct pilot projects. Finally, the money will also be used to recruit more faculty and students.
Sibi described many benefits of the effects of this grant on NDSU, the region and the nation.
This is the biggest grant that biomedical research at NDSU received, and Sibi pointed out that it is competitive and not just appropriation. This helps NDSU keep its Carnegie Research University classification and helps keep NDSU on the biomedical research map, he said.
The center also has a partnership with Sanford Health. The CPR assists Sanford with clinical trials and helps with logistics. One example Sibi offered was that the center can analyze blood samples in the core facilities.
The CPR and core facilities are also resource centers for students and faculty at MSUM, Concordia, UND and the entire state of North Dakota. The facilities have infrastructure that is not found anywhere else in the state, Sibi said.
Nationally, Sibi explained that whatever the CPR discovers in protease research is going to affect the entire country.
“The diseases are always going to be there, there’s going to be new diseases,” he said. “It’s beyond NDSU.”
Sibi said that if any student is interested in participating in “cutting-edge” research, they are encouraged to contact faculty members to see how they can help.