December 16, 2009

Federal Stimulus Funds Buoy Research at Tufts

Grants total $16.9 million to 23 academic departments in the first year alone

Scientists at Tufts University have secured 75 awards from 241 university proposals submitted for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The funded investigators represent 23 academic departments from the schools of Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering and Medicine, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Altogether, the awards total $16.9 million for the first year of funding, with grants for the second year expected to reach $30 million.

Of the 75 awards to Tufts, more than 50 were obtained by faculty at the School of Medicine, said Naomi Rosenberg, dean of the Sackler School. In addition, she said, medical school faculty based at Tufts Medical Center and Tufts’ other affiliated hospitals received funding for another 40 research projects.

Philip Haydon, the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and chair of neuroscience, secured a $1.65 million faculty recruitment grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The newly established Faculty Recruitment Award program is designed to mitigate the reduction in faculty positions due to the current economic downturn. The two-year grant will facilitate the hiring of new faculty for secure, tenure-track or equivalent positions.

Two teams of investigators were awarded RC2 grants, also known as Grand Opportunity or “GO” grants, meant to lend generous, short-term support to high-impact ideas. Beverly Rubin, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology, and her colleagues received a two-year, $1.6 million grant to study the relationship between obesity and exposure to the controversial plastics ingredient Bisphenol A (BPA). Ana Soto, professor of anatomy and cell biology, and her team were awarded $1.84 million over two years for an investigation into the effect of BPA exposure on child development.

Also part of the stimulus funding, two teams of Tufts scientists have won competitive challenge grants from the NIH, which is seeking to focus on areas where an influx of funds would quickly advance research in significant ways. Examples include specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation and research methods.

Larry A. Feig, professor of biochemistry, received a $1 million, two-year grant to determine if and how connections in the developing teenage brain affect adolescent behaviors. The NIH also awarded Paula Minihan, an assistant professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts Medical School, and John Morgan, an assistant professor of public health and community service at Tufts Dental School, $925,000 over two years to study oral health in adults with developmental disabilities and identify the factors that hinder their ability to take care of their oral health and make regular visits to a dentist.

Article Tools

emailE-mail printPrint