By Keith Brannon
The National Institutes of Health has awarded Tulane a five-year, $10.5 million Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant to continue a career-development program affiliated with the Tulane Cancer Center and the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium.
The grant funds research projects for five junior faculty members and matches these investigators with a team of senior scientists in cancer genetics who act as mentors, guiding research progress as well as career development.
Tulane also has been awarded a two-year, $600,000 supplemental grant from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to add a sixth junior faculty member and four mentors to the program.
The program’s goal is to grow the pool of research scientists in cancer genetics in New Orleans by helping junior faculty get to the point where they can obtain their own major funding from the National Institutes of Health and other national programs, says Prescott Deininger, Tulane Cancer Center director and professor of epidemiology at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
The program, which features mentors and mentees from Tulane and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, emphasizes lab-based research that can translate to clinical applications in cancer treatment. The grant includes funds to support senior faculty mentors and pay salaries for up to 20 skilled investigators or fellows.
One of the original mentees, Astrid Engel, assistant professor of epidemiology, is now a mentor in the program. Dean Pierre Buekens called Engel’s experience an “excellent example of the ways that the COBRE program has been successful in grooming junior faculty to flourish and thrive as productive members of Tulane’s research community.”