The National Institutes of Health has awarded the state of Wyoming a $17.4 million grant that will be given to the University of Wyoming as the lead institution.  The grant will fund biomedical education and research in Wyoming.

This five-year grant will go to the Wyoming IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program for projects centered on the health issues that matter to rural communities.

“This is our third five-year award, so we’ve been at this for a little over 10 years between INBRE awards and some other grants we’ve received toward these goals,” says Wyoming INBRE program coordinator and associate dean in the Outreach School, Scott Seville.

For the next five years, Wyoming INBRE will continue to strengthen biomedical research infrastructure and expertise at UW and Wyoming community colleges.  The program will also provide support to augment the research base and capacity of UW and partner institutions.

“Every community college in Wyoming now has a research space that’s dedicated to research activities that faculty and students engage in,” says Seville.  “Those projects can range from cardiovascular research using rats as a model [at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs], to avian disease research at Northwest College in Powell, to research in Casper on spider silk proteins.  Every community college in the state is involved.”

In addition, Wyoming INBRE will continue to provide research opportunities for undergraduates to better enable those students to further their health research careers.

“We’ve funded almost 400 undergraduate students in a variety of contexts to get their hands dirty doing research, to work with mentor faculty at the community colleges or at UW, and to pursue advanced training and education,” says Seville.  “We’ve also funded almost a hundred graduate students who have received graduate assistantships through Wyoming INBRE to support them while they’re doing their post-baccalaureate work.”

Seville says that the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program provides support to states that are not getting funds relative to the populations of those states.  “It’s a program that’s in 23 states and Puerto Rico… we think it’s bringing great benefits to the state of Wyoming.”