Texas Tech Announces Research Collaboration Grants

A new grant program encourages collaborative research projects between Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

DATE: March 30, 2007
CONTACT: Sally Logue Post, sally.post@ttu.edu
(806) 742-2136

Texas Tech Announces Research Collaboration Grants

Two grants have been awarded for new collaborative research projects that involve faculty from both the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Texas Tech University.

Daniel Hardy, associate professor of cell biology at the Health Sciences Center and Javad Hashemi, professor of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech, received $270,024 for a project looking at the molecular and biomechanical causes and consequences of aging-related degeneration of intervertebral discs.

Robert Bright, associate professor of microbiology at the Health Sciences Center, and Satomi Niwayama, associate professor of chemistry at Texas Tech, received $499,692 for a project looking at a new proteomic method and its application to chemical biology.

"There is already collaboration between our two universities. This new program will add incentive for our researchers to talk to each other and hopefully that will spur new and innovative programs," said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance.

The project has drawn considerable interest and support from the system Board of Regents.

"When we talked about how to grow our research several months ago, we kept coming back to the idea that encouraging even more collaboration between the researchers at our two universities makes so much sense," said Dan Serna, a regent from Arlington and champion of the program. "We have the unique situation of having our research university and our health sciences center located on the same campus and we should take every opportunity to combine our knowledge and expertise."

The grants are part of a new initiative designed to encourage large, multidisciplinary projects that have the potential to introduce new areas of academic collaboration between the two universities. Proposals were judged by a panel of external experts and funds awarded based on the projects’ likelihood of generating major extramural funding from sources such as the National Institutes of Health.

"This initiative provided a wonderful opportunity for researchers at both Texas Tech and the Health Sciences Center to forge new collaborations," said Dean Smith, Texas Tech vice president for research. "The timing is right. Within the past several years major national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, have placed increased emphasis on interdisciplinary, translational
research. By combining the research strengths of both institutions, we hope to enhance our competitiveness for these resources. Faculty interest in this program was clearly evident, as shown by the 30 applications requesting more than $10 million."

"This research initiative between Texas Tech and the Health Sciences Center is a wonderful program that encourages and supports cooperation between faculty on the two campuses," said Douglas Stocco, vice dean for research at the Heath Sciences Center School of Medicine. "In addition, it also identifies research programs of high merit that are certain to produce quality results that undoubtedly will spawn extramural applications that should be fundable at the national level. In these times of extremely tight federal funding, it is imperative that we do as much as possible to continue to help in keeping our faculty competitive, and this research initiative is a huge step in that direction."

Proposals were submitted in several categories including aging, cancer, rural and/or border health, fertility and reproductive biology, cardiovascular disease and stroke, infectious agents and diseases and a general category for other health-related areas.

The two universities will once again make the collaborative grants available in 2008.

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CONTACT: Dean Smith, vice president for research, at (806) 742-3905 or dean.smith@ttu.edu or Douglas Stocco, vice dean for research, (806) 743-2505 or doug.stocco@ttuhsc.edu.