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U-Idaho receives $5.1 million grant from National Institutes of Health

Friday, April 19 2013

MOSCOW, Idaho – The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Idaho a five-year grant for $5.1 million in continued support of the Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST).

The grant will fund a number of projects within IBEST, which encompasses multiple research and education programs, along with students, faculty, staff and facilities, related to real-time evolution at U-Idaho.

The award is the third phase of U-Idaho’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding.

This final COBRE phase will primarily be used to support and enhance IBEST’s Computational Resources and Genomics Resources core facilities as they transition over the coming five years to become self-sustaining. The funding will be used to support IBEST-related seminars, continue grants for researchers to explore the use of new advanced technologies, and conduct pilot research projects through awards up to $75,000 a year for U-Idaho researchers. 

The grant also will fund initiatives to create collaborations with scientists from across the country and globe.

“This will enable us to network with scientists from other institutions and strengthen our research programs.” said Larry Forney, IBEST director and University Distinguished Professor of biological sciences at U-Idaho. “You collaborate with the best people you can, wherever you are.”

U-Idaho received the first phase of its COBRE award from 2001 to 2006, followed by phase two from 2008 until January 31, 2013. The award has helped junior and mid-career faculty who work under the auspices of IBEST to launch their research programs and expand their laboratories, and by doing so increase their competitiveness to apply for independent grant funding. It also has built the IBEST Computational Resources Core, a facility that provides computing services, data storage and consultation related to biomedical research, and the Genomics Resources Core, which provides investigators access to state of the art technologies for genome sequencing and genetic analyses.

“The goal of this final phase of funding is to allow the University of Idaho to sustain – and build on – the infrastructure, personnel and research developed during earlier phases of support to this center, which is further enhanced by its strong partnership with the Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence,” said W. Fred Taylor, an IDeA program official at the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

“Funding from the first two phases of the COBRE grant has allowed IBEST to create world-class core facilities,” Forney said. “The phase three award shows the people within the IDeA program are duly impressed with what we’ve been able to accomplish, and they strongly support our work in this area.”

Jack McIver, U-Idaho’s vice president for research and economic development, congratulated IBEST for securing the COBRE grant.

“This award speaks to the quality of research occurring within IBEST,” McIver said. “Our dedication to the study of evolution and bioinformatics has attracted first-rate faculty and students to the University of Idaho, and we are committed to supporting their continued success.”

Media contact: Tara Roberts, University Communications - Research, (208) 885-7725,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit