Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards $92 million in research support to U.S. medical schools

December 14, 1999

CHEVY CHASE, MD, December 15, 1999 - Forty-one medical schools in 23 states will receive a total of $92 million over the next four years from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Ranging from $1.6 million to $4 million, the awards will help the schools find new ways to combine basic biomedical research and clinical treatment of patients. They also will support programs in the rapidly developing field of bioinformatics.

This is the second in a series of HHMI grants to medical schools to help strengthen their ability to do research at a time when managed care and other changes in traditional funding present challenges to that important role. In 1995 HHMI awarded $80 million to 30 medical schools to help them sustain their commitment to biomedical research. The new grants bring to $172 million the awards made to medical schools for biomedical research support.

"Medical schools are where a great many of the most important biomedical advances occur, yet they are being squeezed by the growth of managed care, new government policies and other changes," said HHMI President Purnell W. Choppin. "These resources will help medical schools to maintain the critical basic and clinical research activities that yield so many advances for patients."

Nearly 60 percent of the new funding will be used to help junior faculty members launch their research and for pilot studies. Grantee institutions also can use the awards to establish or improve shared research facilities, purchase major equipment, and foster collaborations among basic scientists and clinical researchers.

HHMI invited 126 medical schools to compete for the grants.

A panel of experts reviewed 105 proposals that were submitted and made recommendations to HHMI's management and trustees. The successful proposals emphasize collaborations between researchers in the basic sciences and those who do clinical research, and bioinformatics, a field that marries computer science with molecular biology to analyze the mass of data being generated by the Human Genome Project.

"These are the key areas of molecular medicine, the medicine of the 21st century," said Joseph Perpich, HHMI's vice president of grants and special programs, "The genius of this country's academic medicine has always been the integration of basic and clinical research, and these grants are making it possible for medical schools to continue to lead the way."

The 22 public and 19 private medical schools that will receive the grants are listed below:
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a medical research organization whose principal purpose is the conduct of biomedical research. It employs scientists in cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology. More than 320 Hughes investigators conduct medical research in HHMI laboratories at 71 outstanding medical centers and universities nationwide. Through its complementary grants program, HHMI supports science education in the United States and a select group of researchers abroad.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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