Hopkins clears $200 million mark in stimulus grants

Money has gone to research on the beginning of the universe, Lou Gehrig's disease and building empathy among doctors and nurses who work with children

July 18, 2010|By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

Johns Hopkins recently cleared the $200 million mark in grants received as part of federal stimulus spending, demonstrating that not even a deep recession could choke the university's ability to attract research money.

The Johns Hopkins University recently cleared the $200 million mark in grants received as part of federal stimulus spending, demonstrating that not even a deep recession could choke its ability to attract research money.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave $12.4 billion to the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation for grants to be distributed between February 2009 and September 2010. Hopkins researchers have submitted almost 1,500 proposals for stimulus money and have received 424 grants.

"As one of the nation's leading research institutions … Johns Hopkins has taken advantage of the unprecedented influx of funds available through" stimulus funding, said Scott Zeger, the university's vice provost for research. "Our faculty, imbued with a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, are using these funds to make groundbreaking discoveries and to stimulate the economies of Baltimore and the state of Maryland in the process."

The grants, which have gone everywhere from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences to the Applied Physics Laboratory, have created 164 jobs.

Astrophysicist Charles L. Bennett received $5 million to build a telescope that will help him research how the universe expanded radically in its first trillionth of a second. The instrument, expected to take five years to build, will allow scientists to measure "cosmic microwave background radiation," the afterglow remaining from the beginning of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

Neurologist Jeffrey Rothstein received $3.7 million for a two-year study in which he will test new drugs on stem cells taken from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Rothstein hopes the drugs will slow or halt the disease and plans to share the cells he has developed with other researchers at the end of two years.

Cynda H. Rushton, an associate professor of nursing, received $1 million to create a training initiative to help doctors and nurses build empathy in treating children with chronic health problems.

Other grants will help researchers explore the connections between brain chemistry and alcoholism, map ocean currents on a supercomputer and study the potential benefits of anti-seizure drugs to the brain function of pre-Alzheimer's disease patients.

Hopkins has led all U.S. universities in research and development spending for 30 years and performed $1.68 billion worth of research in fiscal 2008, the last year for which data are available.


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