Professor Mark Smeltzer of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has received $11 million in federal funding for microbiology and immunology research, according to a news release.
The funding is part of the second phase of the research that started May 1. In 2012, Smeltzer received a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the first phase of the research. The first Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant allowed Smeltzer to start the UAMS Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory Responses. The center studies bacteria, viruses and microorganisms and how humans respond to the diseases they cause.
The $11 million grant continues to provide funding for the center along with individual projects on cancer, Lyme disease and pneumonic plague and chlamydial infection. COBRE grants provide funding for projects of junior research faculty, or those who’ve received their first academic appointments. The first grant provided funding for projects on viruses and malaria.
Smeltzer is the co-director for the center along with Richard Morrison, chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UAMS College of Medicine.
“Everything that we do, at the end of the day, it’s really about human health,” Smeltzer said. “We’re trying to understand how microorganisms and pathogens cause disease in humans, and if you understand that, you’re that much closer to coming up with useful treatments.”
The COBRE grant also includes funding “for training and mentoring at the institution level and from national-level COBRE advisers,” according to the release. UAMS has three centers receiving COBRE grants. Along with the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory Responses, the Center for Translational Neuroscience and The Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy have received grants of $22.5 million and $10.5 million, respectively.