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UAF Receives $19.6 Million Grant to Support One Health

Sep 4, 2019 | Monitor

FAIRBANKS—The University of Alaska Fairbanks has received a five-year, $19.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to build capacity and increase diversity of students in biomedical research.

The new grant builds interdisciplinary collaborations following a One Health approach, which investigates the health of people, animals, and their shared environment in Alaska.

The research, led by Brian Barnes, director of UAF’s Institute of Arctic Biology, is funded through the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The grant renews an earlier Institutional Development Award called the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, or INBRE. Other leaders include Jason Burkhead and Cindy Knall of the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Julie Benson, INBRE Alaska program administrator.

Alaska INBRE, which was first established in 2001, is a statewide collaborative network led by UAF. Other INBRE partners include UAA, University of Alaska Southeast, Southcentral Foundation, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

The new grant will fund the study of health disparities in Alaska Native people. One Health has been the theme of Alaska INBRE research since 2014, supporting studies on topics such as the spread of tick-borne pathogens, infections among migrating salmon, and the dangers of avian influenza to hunters.

The latest award will fund training and services in genetic studies, support and training of graduate students, and research experiences for UA undergraduates.

Alaska INBRE focuses on increasing the competitiveness of faculty and investigators for winning their own, independent grants from the NIH. It also provides support for pilot research projects, research advisors, and professional growth. Along with those goals, it will implement a new program that provides support to postdoctoral scientists and technical staff. It will also pay for specialized equipment to increase retention of successful investigators in Alaska.

“Alaska INBRE has had a significant impact on the ability of students and faculty to do biomedical and health research that is directly relevant to Alaskans and their families and communities,” Barnes said. “It is building a network of researchers among the UA campuses and the tribally-led institutions of Southcentral Foundation and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to strengthen well-being throughout our state.”

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