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N.H. Lung Disease Research Center FundedĀ 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a team of scientists, led by Dartmouth Medical School (DMS), $12 million to establish an interdisciplinary research center on lung diseases in New Hampshire. The five-year grant will support studies at DMS, Dartmouth, and Keene State College, in collaboration with New Hampshire's Departments of Environmental Services and of Health and Human Services.

NIH established the funding program, known as COBRE (Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence), to augment and strengthen the biomedical research capabilities of small or rural states and to enhance the scientific expertise of junior faculty in those regions.

"The funding will create the infrastructure to enable Dartmouth and Keene State investigators to conduct state-of-the-art research on lung diseases," says professor of physiology Bruce Stanton, who heads the program. "This is an opportunity to better understand not only how these diseases are caused, but to translate those insights to new therapeutics."

The program includes five multidisciplinary research projects under the umbrella of cellular and molecular mechanisms of lung disease. Three projects that focus on cystic fibrosis (CF) will investigate the biology of the cells affected, the structure of the molecules involved, and the infections common in people with CF, one of the most prevalent genetic diseases in the U.S., where one in 25 individuals is a carrier. Two other projects to study environmental factors that contribute to lung diseases, including lung cancer, which accounts for over 30 percent of all cancer deaths in New Hampshire, will work with state agencies to examine the effects of such agents as arsenic, radon, nickel, and diesel exhaust.

Funds will also support faculty recruitment and development of a new, state-of-the-art proteomics facility to study the location, structure, and function of the proteins involved in these lung diseases.

Joshua Hamilton, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and James Leiter, professor of physiology, are program co-directors.

- By Hali Wickner

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Last Updated: 5/30/08