WVU School of Medicine Receives $1.7 million Ph.D. Training Grant

A $1.7 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health will help West Virginia University’s School of Medicine recruit some of the nation’s best students to be trained in pulmonary and cardiovascular disease research.

The pre-doctoral interdisciplinary training grant provides stipends, tuition and health insurance expenses for Ph.D. students conducting heart, lung and vascular disease research.  The money will be distributed over a five-year period, beginning June 1, 2008.

The grant, known as a T32 training grant, supports broad and fundamental research to help ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available in the future to assume leadership roles as independent scientists in academic institutions.

The students will be paired with grant-funded faculty mentors to conduct research relevant to coronary artery disease, asthma, hypertension, cardiac failure, inflammation, and obesity-related lung and vascular disorders.

“Students will investigate topics that are directly related to the health problems associated with West Virginia’s population,” said Jamal Mustafa, Ph.D., assistant dean for research and professor of physiology and pharmacology.  “As researchers, we use our expertise to get grants which fund research studies that may eventually lead to new and better treatment options for patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary health problems.” 

Mustafa will serve as director and principle investigator of this training grant.  

“This puts WVU in an elite group of research institutions,” said Tom Saba, Ph.D., associate vice president for research and graduate education at Health Sciences and School of Medicine associate dean.  “The grant will help the WVU School of Medicine achieve its goal of becoming one of the top 25 medical schools in the country consistent with our Strategic Research Plan which has allowed WVU to build the infrastructure to obtain this highly competitive award.”

Saba, who directed several NIH training grants before joining WVU, will chair the grant’s internal advisory committee.  The committee provides academic quality control and will meet every six months to review the students’ progress. 

“This is the only NIH training grant of its kind here,” Saba said. “The research growth at WVU is complimentary of our ability to train and recruit students interested in biomedical research and scientific careers, not only from West Virginia but across the United States.”

Early in their training, both Mustafa and Saba completed Ph.D. or post-doctoral research fellowships that were funded by NIH grants.

Mustafa’s research has been funded by NIH for more than 30 years, totaling more than $10 million.  He is a WVU Wyeth Research Scholar. 

Prior to joining WVU, Saba’s research was funded continuously by NIH for more than 34 years.

For more information on WVU Research and Graduate Education, visit www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/resoff/.

- WVU -

For more information:
Cassie Waugh, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
cw: 01-22-08

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