NIH funds 14 High-End Instrumentation grants

Nearly $22 million will enable the purchase of cutting-edge research equipment

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today it will provide $21.5 million for 14 High-End Instrumentation (HEI) grants that will fund cutting-edge equipment required to advance biomedical research and increase knowledge of the underlying causes of human disease. Awarded to research institutions around the country, the one-time grants support the purchase of sophisticated instruments costing more than $750,000.

"The High-End Instrumentation program provides numerous investigators access to essential equipment, often benefiting entire research communities and dramatically advancing their research projects," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR. "These awards spur the kind of scientific discoveries necessary for the development of treatments for a broad spectrum of diseases."

Three or more NIH-funded investigators whose research requires the instrument must be identified in advance by the institution. Matching funds are not required for HEI grants, which provide a maximum of $2 million. However, institutions are expected to provide an appropriate level of support for associated infrastructure, such as building alterations or renovations, technical personnel, and post-award service contracts for instrument maintenance and operation.

High-end instruments supported in this round of funding include two supercomputers that rapidly process vast quantities of data, including one at the University of Washington that will enable protein chemistry studies related to lung and liver diseases. In addition, two awards will fund the purchase of nuclear mass resonance (NMR) spectrometers, designed to determine three-dimensional structures of large proteins and protein complexes. For example, the University of California will use its NMR spectrometer to study protein interactions with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Meanwhile, grants will support several other types of mass spectrometers, designed to provide very high resolution and accurate molecular weight measurement for the study of large biopolymers and their interactions. These include a quadrupole/trap-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (Q-FTMS) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, that will permit the characterization of nucleic acids to advance the understanding of infectious diseases and cancer; and a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer that will enable respiratory, neurodegenerative, and cancer studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Also, awards will support three magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems to facilitate the study of human diseases. For example, it will enable cancer, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorder investigations taking place at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, a new positron emission tomography (PET)/single photo emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) scanner will facilitate cancer research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Two cryo-electron microscopes will also be funded, including one at Purdue University that will be used to study the structure of viruses. Mouse imaging studies at Massachusetts General Hospital will be advanced with the addition of a magnetic resonance (MR) microscope. Finally, an ultra high-throughput genome sequencing system will support HIV analyses at Stanford University.

FY 2006 High-End Instrumentation Grants:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, Mass.) $ 938,175

A positron emission tomography (PET)/single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) scanner will support cancer research.

Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Mass.) $1,510,934

A high-performance supercomputer will enable investigators to process magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from neuroimaging studies of Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and schizophrenia.

Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Mass.) $2,000,000

A 15 Tesla, ultra-high field, horizontal magnetic resonance (MR) microscope will facilitate mouse imaging studies of cardiac conditions, diabetes, tissue engineering, and other research projects.

Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) $2,000,000

A 300 kilovolt field emission, cryo-electron microscope will make possible the study of complex biological assemblies, especially viruses.

Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.) $ 543,750

An ultra high-throughput genome sequencing system that performs clonal amplification and pyrosequencing will support microbial genome sequencing, unbiased explorations of human microbial diversity, and HIV analyses.

University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.) $1,600,000

A high-end, field emission gun electron microscope will augment structural studies of a broad range of nanomachineries, organelles, viruses and bacterial cells by electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) and tomography (ET).

University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.) $1,244,821

A high-resolution, hybrid Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer will enable research involving neurodegenerative diseases, respiratory illnesses, and cancer.

University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, Calif.) $2,000,000

An 800 megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer will allow studies of protein interactions with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, Md.) $1,515,000

A hybrid, 12 Tesla quadrupole/trap-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (Q-FTMS) will permit the characterization of nucleic acids to advance the understanding of infectious diseases and cancer.

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pa.) $2,000,000

A whole-body, 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system will assist in studying neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders, detecting cancer and monitoring treatment, and developing novel approaches to cardiovascular disease.

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah) $1,709,320

A high field-strength, small animal, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner will enable studies of breast cancer, carotid artery disease, and other conditions.

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.) $2,000,000

A high-end, 800 megahertz, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer will make possible studies of biopolymers, with a special focus on membrane proteins.

University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.) $ 500,000

A multi-tiered proteomic compute (MFC) cluster for protein chemistry studies will allow the investigation of lung injury diseases, toxicity, and drug-induced liver disease.

Yale University (New Haven, Conn.) $2,000,000

A 7 Tesla human magnetic resonance (MR) system will facilitate ultra-high resolution studies of diabetes, epilepsy, psychiatric disease, and learning disorders.

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More information about the High-End Instrumentation program, including application guidelines, is available at http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/biotech/btheinstr.asp.

About NCRR

NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. With this support, scientists make biomedical discoveries, translate these findings to animal-based studies, and then apply them to patient-oriented research. Ultimately, these advances result in cures and treatments for both common and rare diseases. Through collaborations and networks, NCRR connects researchers with one another, and with patients and communities across the nation. These connections bring together innovative research teams and the power of shared resources, multiplying the opportunities to improve human health. For more information, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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