Get UNLV School of Medicine stories, events, and news everyday!
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 159 - August 21, 2018
Building the all important research component of the UNLV School of Medicine took a big step forward recently when the National Institutes of Health notified Dr. Parvesh Kumar that it is renewing the 5-year $20 million dollar CTR-IN Grant. As Vice Dean of Research, Dr. Kumar is Principal Investigator of the CTR-IN. Since April of 2016, he and his dedicated staff have worked long and hard fine-tuning it’s strategic direction and preparing the renewal application, all 1,030 pages of it. Getting this fantastic news puts the wheels in motion for more research projects at UNLV as well as the 12 other universities that will share expertise and resources. To me, this is further evidence the UNLV School of Medicine is on the right track to becoming the world-class center of excellence and innovation we want it to be.
Barbara signature, first name only
Parvesh Kumar
Dr. Parvesh Kumar, the UNLV School of Medicine Vice Dean of Research, says $20 million research grant will have huge impact in improving the health of residents in Mountain West states.
Thanks to a 5-year $20.3 million dollar grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health, UNLV will continue to lead a research network of 13 universities across the Mountain West. 

The Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure Network or CTR-IN is the largest federally funded grant at UNLV and in the state of Nevada. It is designed to expand the research capacity of UNLV and its partner institutions across seven Mountain West states with the aim of improving the health of its residents.
Brach Postion PhD
UNLV Professor Brach Poston, Ph.D.
Led by principal investigator Dr. Parvesh Kumar, the UNLV School of Medicine Vice Dean of Research, the CTR-IN has spawned multiple research projects from investigators throughout the 13 universities, including research on Parkinson’s disease by UNLV Dept. of Kinesiology and Nutritional Sciences assistant professor Brach Poston.

Poston used a $71,000 pilot grant to study the disease, and the progress he made on his research concept led to another award of $421,000 from the NIH.

“The CTR-IN is a noble cause which helps research faculty improve the health and lives of the people who live in the Mountain West region,” Kumar said.
During the first four years of the Grant, the CTR-IN Program invested $4.62M to fund 69 single investigator Pilot Grants, which have now resulted in 27 extramural awards totaling almost $37M in extramural funding for an 800% return on investment. Eight of the initial 69 pilot grants went to UNLV.

“Faculty members ability to secure such a large amount of extramural funding demonstrates the difference the CTR-IN is making at the participating universities,” Kumar said. “It’s spurring further research infrastructure development, which is one of our major objectives of this grant.”

Poston said the initial pilot grant allowed him to develop the data necessary to secure a larger grant involving multiple subjects. He is exploring how low levels of electrical stimulation may contribute to improved motor performance in people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

An electrical engineer at the University of Wyoming also used a pilot grant to spawn further research. His initial grant of $68,500 morphed into a research grant of $448,000 to improve driver attention spans research with a goal of reducing motor vehicle accidents.

Funding for the projects comes from the National Institutes of Health Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.

“As an academic medical center, the UNLV School of Medicine has as part of its mission the carrying out of research that improves lives,” said Dr. Barbara Atkinson, founding dean of the medical school. “We’re proud that Dr. Kumar was able to play a key role in the renewal of UNLV’s largest research grant. At UNLV, we believe knowledge can be derived from questioning the status quo, discovering more about illnesses and disorders and using that knowledge to improve the health of our community.”

Kumar was appointed principal investigator of the Mountain West CTR-IN program on April 1, 2016 after about two-thirds of the initial grant had been completed. He assembled a team to make it more competitive for grant renewal. That included changing the program’s strategic direction by focusing on health disparities, eliminating programs that were not effective and initiating new programs such as multi-site pilot projects. 

UNLV and it’s partner universities share resources and expertise, including biostatistical and administrative support, as well as mentorship and educational opportunities that encourage additional research.

The initial 5-year grant was awarded to UNLV in 2013. This renewal will continue funding through 2023.

UNLV is the host university for the CTR-IN, meaning the university is responsible not only for ensuring that the primary research objectives are met, but for fiscally managing and administering the grant as well. Partner institutions include University of Alaska – Anchorage, University of Alaska – Fairbanks, University of Hawaii – Manoa, Boise State University, Idaho State University, University of Idaho, Montana State University, University of Montana, University of Nevada Reno, New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, University of Wyoming.

All previous issues of  Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson , are available on our website.
To become a subscriber to the UNLV School of Medicine newsletter, Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson click here .
There are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States. The main causes are vascular disease (54%) – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma (45%) and cancer (less than 2%) Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States each year. 

Get UNLV School of Medicine stories, events, and news everyday!