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Stimulus Funding Totals More Than $25 Million
Nearly 50 Georgetown scientists and physicians representing Main Campus and the Medical Center have received more than $25 million in stimulus funding, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

"ARRA presents an unprecedented opportunity for a one-time increase in sponsored-research funding," says Dr. Howard Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine.

Many of the ARRA grants awarded have come from the Department of Education, National Science Foundation and institutions within the National Institutes of Health including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the National Cancer Institute; and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

"GUMC researchers have devoted a significant amount of time and hard work to maximize [these opportunities]," he adds. "These ARRA awards significantly strengthen our world-class research and offer great potential for impacting public health."

Federoff received a $3.9 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for his research on Parkinson’s drug discovery. The grant will be dispersed over two years.

Main Campus has also reaped the rewards of stimulus funding, receiving more than 15 percent of the grants awarded to the university.

"The stimulus funds are allowing faculty on the Main Campus to both continue their cutting-edge research and develop new lines of inquiry that are expanding Georgetown’s research profile, particularly in the sciences represented on the Main Campus," says Timothy Barbari, associate provost for research.

Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers, alone, have submitted $140 million in grant applications leading to this most recent round of awards. There are more than 200 Georgetown grant proposals still pending.

Some examples of ARRA funding include:

Richard Weiss, professor of chemistry in the College, received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for his research on how molecules self-assemble into a one-dimensional structure.

Hongfang Liu, assistant professor of biostatistics, bioinformatics and biomathematics, received a $1.2 million grant to research ontology-based biomedical knowledge retrieval and management. The research is critical to storing, retrieving and extracting knowledge and information in the biomedical domain. The proposed research will benefit biomedical researchers and the general community for understanding and managing biomedical text through Web interfaces and automated systems.

Radhakrishna Padmanabhan, professor of microbiology and immunology, received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease for a study on "Development of Antiviral Therapeutics for Dengue: Inhibitors of Viral Protease and Polymerase." His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of flaviviral RNA replication and polyprotein processing in the dengue viral life cycle.

Though the stimulus funds allow faculty members to continue their research, they are not the only ones who benefit from the awards.

"The funds are creating new positions, primarily for post-doctoral fellows and research scientists," says Barbari, who also serves as a physics professor and graduate school dean. "But they also allow us to retain current research staff on our most productive research ventures."

-- Nia Hightower

(January 5, 2010)
'These ARRA awards significantly strengthen our world-class research and offer great potential for impacting public health.' -- Dr. Howard Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine

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