Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed September 1, 1998
Contact: Kristen Lans

NIH grant links 41 Brown and Tufts scientists for AIDS research

A five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant will support collaboration among 41 AIDS researchers affiliated with Brown University in Providence, R.I., and Tufts University in Boston.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced a new five-year multimillion-dollar grant that will allow scientists from two universities and five hospitals to collaborate on AIDS research. The grant totals $650,000 this year and will increase during each of the next four years.

The award will link 23 scientists at Brown University and four of its affiliated hospitals with 18 scientists at Tufts University and the New England Medical Center in Boston. Officially named the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, the collaboration is one of six new centers created by NIH funding this year. (Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and the New England Medical Center are Lifespan partners.)

The center will support a broad range of researchers, from molecular biologists studying HIV in the laboratory to behavioral scientists studying how human behavior affects transmission. Researchers will be able to share equipment, technical expertise and other resources.

Unlike grants that are earmarked for specific research projects, this NIH award has the flexibility to support a variety of projects, said Charles Carpenter, M.D., professor of medicine at the Brown University School of Medicine. Carpenter, based at The Miriam Hospital, is the principal investigator for the grant. "It gives us the flexibility to move in new directions quickly," Carpenter said. "That is important because things change so fast in AIDS research."

The center will devote 15 percent of its NIH award annually to funding the research of scientists who are new to the field, according to Carpenter. Those new projects will be selected by a core committee of deans and scientists from both the Brown University School of Medicine and Tufts School of Medicine.

The Centers for AIDS Research program, now a decade old, has supported many advances in knowledge about the virus, including identification of new co-receptors for HIV and the use of antiretroviral drugs as probes to understand the dynamics of HIV replication, NIH officials said. This year, the federal agency is allocating $13 million to a total of 12 AIDS research centers.

"HIV research requires expertise in multiple scientific fields and increasingly sophisticated procedures, so the integrated center approach is an excellent way to achieve this goal," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH.