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Dartmouth Medical School receives $1 million grant to renovate genetics lab

Posted 09/15/00

Dartmouth Medical School has received a $1 million federal grant to help support cutting-edge research in genetics.

The award, effective September 15, was announced by Dean John C. Baldwin, who is principal investigator for the project. It will support renovation of research laboratories for the medical school's Department of Genetics, established by Baldwin two years ago to give Dartmouth a leadership position in this rapidly emerging field, so important to biological sciences in general and to understanding of the fundamental bases for wellness and disease.

"The decision to create this new department grew out of our recognition that full participation in this explosion of knowledge in the life sciences was essential to Dartmouth's remaining a great academic community in the new millennium", Baldwin said. "Genetics is a field so transcendent in its importance, so compelling in terms of its ramifications throughout society, that it will transform the way we view life and the world we live in. It holds the promise to change medicine from a palliative to a truly preventive and curative science.

The grant, from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources, sustains a rapid pace of progress for genetics at Dartmouth that has been deeply gratifying, Baldwin continued. After he conceived of the new department and worked with the faculty to develop consensus for its vision and structure, the college trustees approved the creation of Dartmouth Medical School's first basic science department in many years.

Thereafter, Baldwin appointed Jay Dunlap, Ph.D., a geneticist of international stature, as the first chair. DMS received a $3.4 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in December 1999 to support the genetics initiative and recruit faculty, and has secured additional funding through a combination of institutional and private pledges. According to Baldwin, "this new federal grant reiterates the validity of our concept for a national center of excellence in genetics at Dartmouth. Our new department creates a formal, unified scholarly community that draws together expertise in genetics across Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with a common vision and purpose that is energizing and exciting," he said.

The sixth floor of Vail and the seventh floor of Remsen, currently the DMS core biomedical research buildings, will house Dartmouth's genetics department.Space is being renovated to facilitate faculty collaboration and consolidation of genetics investigations. The remodeling project is headed by Ann Bauer, DMS director of planning and administration. The two-year NIH grant augments construction in the Vail science building, built in 1974. "We are delighted that we were able to communicate so successfully our vision and enthusiasm for this new department," Dunlap added.

The funding will help support at least three to five new laboratories and related space to consolidate the facilities for senior and junior investigators. In making the award, NIH cited the high quality of ongoing research and competitive funding ability along with the institutional commitment as strengths for the future of genetics at Dartmouth.

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