NIH Director Meets with Research University Representatives

Georgia Tech highlights research projects during visit

Georgia’s research university community recently welcomed Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Collins met with administrators and researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, the University of Georgia (UGA), Georgia State University and Morehouse School of Medicine during his May 30 visit to Atlanta.

Todd McDevitt presenting to Francis Collins
Click image to enlarge

Todd McDevitt presenting his laboratories research results on wound healing to Dr. Collins.

Research university representatives highlighted NIH-funded projects. Scientists representing Georgia Tech included Robert Guldberg, executive director of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and mechanical engineering professor, and Todd McDevitt, director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center and associate professor in biomedical engineering.

Guldberg shared information about the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine Center, a partnership between Emory University and Georgia Tech focused on endogenous repair and healing of nerves, bone, metabolic and cardiac applications. McDevitt presented four projects funded by NIH including wound healing studies from a “Transformative Research Award,” a program developed to fund “high-risk, high-reward” science under the NIH’s Common Fund.

“Given that Dr. Collins recently dedicated a blog post to the ongoing research of Andrés Garcia, Todd McDevitt, Hang Lu from Georgia Tech and Steve Stice from UGA, we were excited to share the great work being done in regenerative medicine and in stem cells,” said Steven Cross, Georgia Tech’s executive vice president for research who also attended the briefing. “Bob and Todd were able to present ongoing NIH-funded work for which Dr. Collins expressed both admiration and strong support.”

Sequestration is expected to reduce the NIH budget by $1.71 billion in 2013. As a result of the 5 percent decrease, NIH expects to fund 703 fewer new and competing research grants this year. This decline in funding will have an impact on Georgia universities, including Georgia Tech, which was awarded $41.3 million from the NIH in 2012. While it is unknown how these cuts will affect individual research labs, Collins is seeking anecdotes of the sequestration’s impact via Twitter using the hashtag #NIHSequesterImpact.