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MMCRI is awarded $5.5 million by the NIH in support of its Center of Biomedical Research Excellence

Vascular COBRE

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded Maine Medical Center an additional $5.5 million for support of its Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Vascular Biology. The Vascular Biology COBRE at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) is entering its 11th year and is one of the first COBREs in the nation to be awarded this additional "Phase III" funding status.

Scientists associated with the Vascular Biology program study the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development and disease. Projects include development of inhibitors of tumor angiogenesis, mechanisms of blood vessel remodeling after vascular injury, the molecular genetic basis of hereditary vascular diseases and mechanisms of heart failure.

"The success of a program such as this depends on collaborative support from our entire organization", said Donald L. St. Germain, MD, Director of Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI). "This represents a strong affirmation by the NIH of the outstanding research activities which have, and continue to be conducted by our vascular biology group at MMCRI. This five-year award will help to continue this strong tradition of vascular research. I wish to express my admiration, appreciation and congratulations specifically to those outstanding scientists who over the years have contributed most directly to this work including, Bob Friesel (Principal Investigator, VB COBRE), Peter Brooks, Lucy Liaw, Volkhard Lindner, Ilka Pinz, Igor Prudovsky, Cal Vary, and Jeong Yoon and the many dedicated post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and technical staff involved in projects and core facilities related to the COBRE."

This multi-million dollar funding provides support for maintaining COBRE research core facilities that were developed during the past 10 years from the earlier Phase I and II COBRE funding. Phase I focused on developing research infrastructure and providing junior investigators with formal mentoring and research project funding to help them acquire preliminary data and successfully compete for independent research grant support. Phase II of the COBRE focused on strengthening the Center through further improvements in research infrastructure and continuing development and support of a critical mass of investigators with shared scientific interests. Phase III funding of the Vascular Biology COBRE will ensure continued growth and development of state-of-the-art research core facilities to support basic, clinical, translational, and community-based research at MMCRI, and sustain a collaborative, multidisciplinary research environment by providing support for research pilot projects and mentoring and training components.

The COBRE program, supported by the NIH's National Center for Resources Research, has been critical for the growth of MMCRI by providing the support to develop research projects to the point where they can be funded through other granting mechanisms. Thus, the initial investment by the NIH to fund Phase I and II of the Vascular Biology COBRE has resulted in over $29 million dollars of grant money being obtained by MMCRI researchers through other federal, private foundation, and industry funding opportunities.

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