MSU to benefit from $20 million grant renewal for statewide biomedical research program

By Dani Ray | Jun 10, 2024

Students utilize the laser scanning confocal microscope

Students utilize the laser scanning confocal microscope with super-resolution capability that Murray State University purchased with the last Kentucky IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (KY INBRE) grant from the National Institutes of Health. The KY INBRE grant has been renewed for $20 million for the next five years.

MURRAY, Ky. – The Kentucky IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (KY INBRE) has received a renewal grant award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling more than $20 million for another five years.

Murray State University is a partner institution of KY INBRE, which is a collaborative network of biomedical researchers in state-supported and independent institutions of higher education within Kentucky. It is funded through the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The goal of KY INBRE is to develop a network of support for biomedical researchers and educators within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The purpose of the network is to develop infrastructure and capacity for biomedical research and training in the state.

Dr. Alexey Arkov, professor of biology at Murray State, has been serving as a KY INBRE lead faculty representing the University since 2015. Arkov said the grant renewal will greatly benefit Murray State.

“The impact that KY INBRE support has had on our university has been truly amazing,” said Arkov. “It has greatly enhanced our biomedical research and education programs and, in particular, KY INBRE has provided generous grants to our biomedical faculty from departments of biological sciences and chemistry and their students, and helped our faculty to obtain prestigious NIH grants. Also, KY INBRE has provided funds to purchase state-of-the-art equipment which not only allowed us to be competitive in our research but also greatly enhanced student learning.”

As an example, Arkov pointed to the recent major purchase of a laser scanning confocal microscope with super-resolution capability supported by KY INBRE. Arkov said the purchase has revolutionized the University’s scientific microscopy imaging and provided students the opportunity to see the inner workings of cells and cellular structures with great clarity and resolution.

“I am looking forward to a new chapter of our involvement with KY INBRE which will further enhance our university scientific environment and infrastructure and benefit our faculty and students,” said Arkov.

The University of Louisville is the lead institution of the statewide grant. Dr. Martha Bickford, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology at the University of Louisville, is the principal investigator and program director. Dr. Eric Rouchka, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Louisville, is the associate director.

The NIGMS IDeA program funds statewide networks of higher education and research institutions in each IDeA-state and Puerto Rico to build biomedical research capacity through support for faculty research and mentoring, student participation in research and research infrastructure enhancement at network institutions. Kentucky’s first NIH statewide biomedical research grant began in 2001 under the previous funding program, Biomedical Research Network and has received consecutive five-year renewals through the INBRE program, which began in 2004.

“We are pleased to announce this renewal,” said Bickford. “The number of programs supported by KY INBRE and the number of partner and affiliated institutions have grown over time. This renewal will allow us to continue impacting the research, education and workforce development pipelines in our state.”

Since 2001, the program has directly brought almost $98 million to Kentucky. This investment has greatly impacted the research capacity of the state. For example, during the last funding cycle, KY INBRE-sponsored investigators received an additional $20 million from the NIH, more than 2,000 students received research training and KY INBRE-affiliated investigators published more than 200 articles.

“As this fifth INBRE funding cycle was achieved based on the accomplishments of investigators and trainees across the state, I congratulate all of our partner and affiliate institutions,” said Bickford. “This award positions us to continue our program’s impact on the future of biomedical research throughout Kentucky.”

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