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August 15, 2006

$1.5 Million NIH Grant Boosts UMBC's Research on HIV, Cancer

Powerful Instrument to Be Shared by Other UMBC Labs Studying Retroviruses

CONTACT: Chip Rose, UMBC News
410-455-5793
crose@umbc.edu

Dan Fabris, associate professor of chemistry at UMBC, is one of just 14 researchers nationally to receive a NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) High-End Instrumentation grant announced today.

The $1.5 million grant will fund the purchase of an extremely powerful, high-resolution, mass spectrometer that greatly boosts UMBC's capabilities to analyze nucleic acids for research on drug resistance by HIV, other retroviruses and cancer.

The Fabris lab was the only one in Maryland to receive the NIH NCCR instrumentation grant this year, making UMBC one of just a handful of U.S. institutions to have such a powerful mass spectrometer.

The custom built instrument, a hybrid, 12 Tesla quadrupole-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (Q-FTICR) mass spectrometer, won't arrive at UMBC for another six months or so. It will be shared by several other labs at the University working on research that could lead to new and more effective inhibitor drugs for AIDS therapy.

"This is extremely exciting for many of us at UMBC," said Fabris, who has studied the nucleic acid structure of HIV since joining the faculty of the Chemistry and Biochemistry department in 1999. "We are particularly happy that this grant will not only expand our lab's capabilities, but will also benefit the work of other researchers in UMBC's departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Biological Sciences and possibly other labs in the Baltimore area."

"The High-End Instrumentation program provides numerous investigators access to essential equipment, often benefiting entire research communities and dramatically advancing their research projects," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR, in an NIH press release. "These awards spur the kind of scientific discoveries necessary for the development of treatments for a broad spectrum of diseases."

Other NIH NCCR High-End Instrumentation grants went to hospital labs in Boston and university labs at Purdue, Stanford, UCLA, U. Cal Santa Barbara, U. Penn., Yale and others.

Posted by crose at August 15, 2006 12:18 PM