Four UNC School of Medicine researchers headed to Capitol Hill this week to take part in the Rally for Medical Research September 17 to bring awareness to the need for more federally funded medical research. They are among hundreds of researchers from around the country who plan to meet with various Congressional leaders to urge them to ensure that funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a national priority and to support continued investment in medical research.
“The ultimate purpose for increased funding is to translate research into clinics to help people,” said Blossom Damania, PhD, assistant dean for research in the UNC School of Medicine and Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology. “It is an absolute fact that NIH research saves countless lives. But funding for biomedical research has stagnated over recent years, and although UNC has done well to secure NIH grants, we need to be sure Congressional leadership understands what’s at stake.”
UNC faculty members are scheduled to meet with Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, and Representative David Price, among other Congressional leaders from around the nation.
The four UNC researchers heading to Capitol Hill are:
• Blossom Damania, PhD, assistant dean for research at the UNC School of Medicine, Boshamer distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology, and co-director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Programs in Virology and Global Oncology.
• Robert Duronio, PhD, assistant dean for research at the UNC School of Medicine, professor of genetics and biology, and director of the Integrative Program for Biological and Genome Sciences
• David Peden, MD, director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology, professor of pediatrics, medicine, toxicology, and microbiology and immunology, and associate dean for translational research in the UNC School of Medicine.
• Brian Strahl, PhD, professor and director of graduate studies in the department of biochemistry and biophysics.
“Without federal funding of biomedical research through NIH grants to universities like UNC-Chapel Hill, the United States would not be leading the world in developing effective diagnostics and treatments, Duronio said. "But there is much more we need to learn about the origins of disease and treatments of all diseases, and continued strong support of NIH and the research we do at UNC are imperative for us to continue to make progress.”
Damania, Duronio, and Strahl are members of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Peden is the director of the faculty development team for NC TraCS. Damania is a member of that team. The Office of Research in the UNC School of Medicine sponsored this trip.
You can follow along on twitter at #RallyMedRes
You can ask your state’s senators and representatives to increase NIH funding by using this website.