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For Immediate Release: December 14, 2001
Contact: DMS Communications (603) 650-1492


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Center of Biomedical Research Excellence Funded

Hanover, NH - Dartmouth Medical School has received an $11.6 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a nationally recognized center of biomedical research excellence in immunology and inflammation. The five-year grant will support collaborative projects at DMS in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire (UNH), promoting research opportunities for biomedical investigators in New Hampshire with broad potential for understanding and treating diseases of the immune system and cancer.

The funds are awarded through a special program called COBRE, an acronym for centers of biomedical research excellence that NIH designed to cultivate research expertise among junior faculty and strengthen the research infrastructure of states that do not receive as much NIH funding as some large states.

"This award enables the medical school to build on its productivity and leadership in an area of far-reaching importance for health and disease. And as importantly, it affords an opportunity to forge alliances in a consortium with life scientists at UNH," says DMS Dean John C. Baldwin, MD.

US Senator Judd Gregg (NH) stated, "This award once again solidifies the reputation of Dartmouth Medical School and UNH as two of the premier research institutions in our nation. These funds will allow for research methods and results to be shared and analyzed between the two institutions and creates expanded opportunities for younger researchers to join more experienced colleagues in working to understand and eradicate various diseases. This award will provide real benefits to the patients who rely on these researchers for life-saving treatments and medicine."

The program encompasses five integrated research projects, under the umbrella of "immune mechanisms controlling inflammation and cancer." Projects are "multidisciplinary in breadth, characteristic of a center of excellence, with a common theme of modulating immunity," explains William Green, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, who heads the program. Collectively they can help define new ways to harness the immune system to combat tumors and bacterial infections or to subdue immune responses to control inflammation or autoimmunity.

Hallmarks of the program include faculty mentoring by pairing junior level faculty with established senior colleagues, training for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and support for core facilities. Faculty from DMS as well as from UNH serves as investigators, leaders or mentors. Program co-directors include William Hickey, MD, senior associate dean at DMS, and Andrew Rosenberg, PhD, dean of life sciences and agriculture at UNH.

The projects range from basic studies to delineate immune processes and pathways, to strategies for tailoring vaccines and immune therapies against cancer and infectious diseases. They (with leaders and mentors) are:

  • Factors that play a central role in inflammatory processes and autoimmune disease (Ralph Nichols, PhD; William Rigby, MD);
  • Cellular, molecular and physiologic mechanisms involved in septic shock and other inflammatory responses (James Gorham, MD, PhD; Paul Guyre, PhD; Thomas Pistole, PhD,--UNH);
  • Defining processing pathways of novel tuberculosis antigens to develop new vaccines against antibiotic resistant strains (Mark Lang, PhD; Grant Yeaman, PhD; William Wade, PhD; Vernon Reinhold, PhD,--UNH);
  • Strategies to amplify T cell responses for use in immunotherapy for prostate cancer (Paul Wallace, PhD; Michael Fanger, PhD; Paul Guyre, PhD) and
  • Preclinical studies and clinical trials of vaccines for colorectal cancer (Richard Barth, MD; Randy Noelle, PhD).

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