$3M grant benefits university hospitals

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, left, with President Barack Obama, Mayor Michael Nutter and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. — PHOTO COURTESY THE WHITE HOUSE

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah has recently announced that the Temple University, Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania will divvy up a $3 million grant, which will go toward advanced research in spinal cord injury and transplant repair, while also focusing on allergies.

“The investment of these research dollars will see a significant return in the quality of life,” Fattah said, “for Americans suffering with spinal cord injury, allergies and transplant rejection.”

Fattah is the senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and ranking member on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation – two organizations with which Fattah has an extensive history of cooperation – have facilitated this grant, which will be funneled to the schools through several channels.

Drexel University will receive $1,271,929.00 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for its continued research in spinal cord injury, plasticity and transplant repair. The institute has also granted $351,445.00 to Temple University for its research into biomarkers – indicators of biological states – for spinal cord injuries in children.

The National Science Foundation – an independent, partisanship-free organization created by Congress in 1950 to promote national health while boosting the nation’s prosperity and defense capabilities – will donate to the University of Pennsylvania $1,160,002.00 for the more academic research into complex, multilayered algebraic equations. UPenn will also receive an additional developmental grant of $240,000 from DHHS’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fattah, long a champion of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – related programs throughout all levels of education, believes what UPenn is doing to be just as important as the research done on the medical side.

“The progress of modern technology is dependent on advancements in abstract algebra,” Fattah said. “This grant will provide critical resources for further developments and innovations in STEM.”

Fattah is no stranger to the neuroscience and academic sectors, and Fattah’s platform – the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative – received a boost earlier this month when President Barack Obama signed legislation encouraging a better synergy among players in the private sector of brain science and therapy development.

The FNI, created to produce innovations in the understanding of and therapies for brain-related research, will have ramifications for the region’s renowned pharmaceutical sector.

This new legislation is Fattah’s second major science-related statute. Obama signed earlier language authored by Fattah in December, 2011, that for the first time coordinated multi-agency neuroscience research under the umbrella of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This collaboration is now the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience, which is due to issue its final report in June.

According to Fattah, this new legislation will allow work with all relevant stakeholders to consider how incentives could hasten the development of new prevention and treatment options for neurological diseases and disorders, and to recommend options for such incentives.

“The educational, health and economic benefits of these policies,” Fattah said, “will last far into the century for individuals, families and the country as a whole.”


Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at 215-893-5745 or dwilliams@phillytrib.com.

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