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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Biomedical projects land $2 million

    PHOENIX – More than $2 million was awarded to researchers at the UA and Arizona State University last week for collaborative biomedical projects designed to discover treatment and technologies for several serious diseases.

    The money was awarded by the Arizona Board of Regents as part of the Technology Research Infrastructure Fund, which is collected from a voter-approved sales tax increase that passed in 2001.

    The UA’s BIO5 Institute and ASU’s Biodesign Institute received the largest portion of the money, $1.2 million, to prevent, identify and fight diseases including Parkinson’s disease, valley fever, diabetes, asthma and cancer.

    “”The theoretical goal is that we will save money by identifying students who do not have proper legal status, either immigration or citizenship, and identifying them and making them pay out-of-state tuition.””
    – Gary Stuart
    Arizona regent

    The remaining $800,000 will fund bioscience and biomedicine projects in fields such as chemistry, engineering, radiology and optical sciences.

    “”It’s a milestone in the development of the state as a bioscience powerhouse,”” said Leslie Tolbert, the UA vice president for research. “”The funding is only enough to begin a project, but the hope is to trigger much larger federal funding.””

    The money will be used for 10 projects, four of which are led by the BIO5 and Biodesign institutes. Other departments related to biotechnology or biomedicine will conduct the other six projects.

    Each project will be headed by two researchers, one from the UA and one from ASU. There may also be scientists from other organizations, such as research institutes and hospitals, said Jonathan Fink, vice president of research and economic affairs at ASU.

    It is important for regents to fund research projects that not only are of economic benefit for the state but also will help people suffering from diseases, said Robert Bulla, Arizona Board of Regents president.

    While ASU and the UA have collaborated before on different projects, there never has been any funding specifically for the BIO5 and Biodesign institutes, Tolbert said.

    The collaboration could trigger state-grown ideas that can carry both institutions further than the universities working on their own, Fink said.

    The $2 million is just the beginning of funding for the projects, to get them started this year. Representatives from both universities will ask ABOR today to fund an additional $1 million per year for the following four years, allocating $500,000 to each university annually.

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