Issue 40 - April 12, 2016
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
Friends and Colleagues,    

Parvesh Kumar, MD
In March I announced the addition of Parvesh Kumar, MD, to the UNLV School of Medicine faculty. Dr. Kumar oversees the medical school's research efforts and cancer program as the senior associate dean for research, professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology, and cancer program director. Recently, Dr. Kumar added another role to this list: Principal Investigator (PI) of the Mountain West Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Clinical and Translational Research - Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN) grant held by UNLV. 
What does this mean and how does it impact UNLV and Nevada? 
The Mountain West CTR-IN Grant: This CTR-IN award is a five year, $20 million grant, designed to help faculty members by providing bio-statistical support, career development services, mentoring and seed money for small pilot grants so they can become more competitive for additional grant funding. The Mountain West CTR-IN program provides support for faculty members across thirteen universities, in seven states, including Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii.  Faculty members at any one of these universities in the Mountain West region can submit a research project and apply for funding directly from this grant. One of the main goals for researchers is to gain enough preliminary data to submit and receive a grant directly from the N ational Institutes of Health (NIH)  and other federal funding agencies. Just as importantly, by going through this competitive peer-review process of applying for and getting funding for pilot grants, faculty members "learn" how to do research, thereby elevating the overall research "culture" in the Mountain West region, which is one of the main goals of this IDeA CTR-IN program.

The IDeA Program: The NIH began this program in 1993 to enhance the competitiveness of investigators and to build research capacity among the states that receive substantially less nationally funded research dollars than average. There are 23 states and Puerto Rico classified as IDeA states, and in aggregate, they receive less research funding than the other top 27 states. 
There are several other IDeA programs that benefit Nevada:
  • IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant at the University of Nevada Reno. James Kenyon, PhD, served as the PI for the grant until recently. Josh Baker, PhD, is the new PI. This grant supports all NSHE institutions throughout Nevada that conduct all types of research from basic to clinical, bringing a total of $17.5 million to the state over the next five years. 
  • Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) awards. These awards typically are around a particular research theme and support three junior faculty member projects and provide core activities that are jointly used by all three projects. Jeffrey Cummings, MD, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and UNLV received a COBRE grant last September. The $11.1 million, five-year grant will be used to advance Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research. Read more about the grantRecently, UNLV's Nevada Institute for Personalized Medicine also submitted a COBRE grant application and will find out if they received funding several months from now. 
This Mountain West CTR-IN grant supports faculty development and core programs to help achieve additional NIH and other federal funding for clinical and translational research. Clinical research involves working directly on or about human subjects, for example, clinical trials for a new drug. Translational research moves findings from the basic science laboratory bench to patient care. 

We look forward to working on these exciting programs and many more research opportunities in the future.
Best wishes,
Front L to R: Susan N. Houston, Jeffrie Jones, Jeri Crawford, and Dr. Barbara Atkinson; Back L to R: Leslie Chapman, Dr. Tracey Green, Karen Zamboni, and Joan Lapan
Thank You CCMSA

UNLV School of Medicine attended the Clark County Medical Society Alliance (CCMSA) 15th Annual Fashion Luncheon on April 6. UNLV School of Medicine, Touro University, and Roseman University College of Medicine were all beneficiaries of the event's proceeds. At UNLV School of Medicine, the CCMSA Community Impact Fund will support community outreach projects by medical students, faculty, and residents. 
Nephi Sanchez
New Founding Scholarship Donor

The N. Sanchez Medical Research Corporation is the latest founding scholarship donor to establish a four-year scholarship, the Sanchez Medical Research Scholarship, for a member of our 2017 charter class. Nephi Sanchez, President, notes they are creating the scholarship because they believe in the medical school's leadership team and understand the importance of educating future physicians in Southern Nevada to increase the number of physicians who choose to practice here.  Mr. Sanchez began his professional career as a ballet dancer; became a CPA in California, and then moved into the animation and visual effects industry, most recently serving as the CFO of Shotgun Software, which was acquired by Autodesk, Inc. in 2014. Read more .
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