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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 02, 2004

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
609-984-7160


 
New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research Awards $4.1 Million in Grants


 

            TRENTON – The New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research (NJCSCR) today announced more than $4.1 million in grants for spinal cord injury research for Fiscal Year 2004. 

            The awards include $480,000 in Post Doctoral and Graduate Fellowships and more than $1.6 in individual research grants. The NJCSCR funds research activities that hold the promise of developing effective interventions and cures for paralysis and other consequences of spinal cord injury and disease.

            Richard S. Nowakowski, Ph.D. of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Melitta Schachner, Ph.D., of the University of Hamburg, Professor of Neurobiology in the Center for Molecular Neurobiology, are the first two recipients of the NJCSCR’s $1 million grants.  They were each awarded a five-year named chair for senior and junior faculty members.  Professor Schachner, who is currently engaged in spinal cord research in Germany, will be relocating to New Jersey and joining Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey as a faculty member at the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience. 

            "We have worked hard to make New Jersey a leader in medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology research," said Governor James E. McGreevey. "Our efforts not only help New Jersey families have access to every medical option available, but also drive our economy.  Today we take another step towards fulfilling that vision, as these grants will advance research and move us closer to finding treatments and cures for spinal cord injury and disease," the Governor added.

            "In just four years, the Commission has awarded more than $9.4 million to New Jersey research institutions,” said Clifton R. Lacy, M.D., Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. “As a result of these awards, New Jersey's research institutions are better positioned to be leaders in the development of effective interventions and cures for the 6,000 New Jersey residents who currently suffer from traumatic injuries or diseases that damage the spinal cord.” 

            Six research scientists representing Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and Princeton University were each awarded a Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellowship grant for a total of $480,000. 

            The inaugural offering of this grant drew a tremendous amount of interest, reflecting the leading edge spinal cord research being conducted in New Jersey. 

            “We are providing residents of New Jersey who have spinal cord injuries real hope that treatments and a cure for spinal cord injury are on the horizon,” said John D. DelColle, Chairperson of the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research. “These are very exciting times in the spinal cord research community."

            In 2003, the NJCSCR introduced three new grants in addition to the one-and two-year individual research grants that are currently offered.  The grants are intended to stimulate spinal cord research in New Jersey by facilitating the (i) recruitment of outstanding senior and junior faculty through Five-Year Named Chairs ("New Jersey Commission Professor of Spinal Cord Research"); (ii) establishment of new spinal cord injury research laboratories in New Jersey (through One-Time Grants for Start-Up Costs); (iii) recruitment and training of talented young individuals who wish to pursue a career in spinal cord research (through Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellowships).

            As in past years, the NJCSCR continues to award Individual Research grants to scientists located in New Jersey who submit applications that hold great promise for spinal cord research.  In Fiscal Year 2004, more than $1.6 million in grant money was awarded to scientists from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation.

            The Fiscal Year 2004 grant awards reflect the work of the NJCSCR in stimulating spinal cord research in New Jersey and in recruiting new scientists to the field of spinal cord research.  The latest information on the accomplishments of the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord research can be found in the 2004 annual report.

            To apply for the research grants, access grant applications, find out application deadlines, and to obtain additional information on the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research, visit the NJCSCR website at www.state.nj.us/health/spinalcord/. Written inquiries can be directed to: The New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research, PO Box 360, Trenton, New Jersey 08625. For telephone inquiries, please call 609-292-4055.

###


The following is a complete list of all Fiscal Year 2004 grant recipients:

Five-Year Named Chair for Senior and Junior Faculty Grant

Melitta Schachner, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience

Richard S. Nowakowski, Ph.D.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellowship Grant

Carolina Ibanez-Ventoso, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Biology & Biochemistry/Nelson Laboratories

Modulation of Necrosis: In vivo Analysis of a Novel Gene Implicated

in Injury-Induced Neuronal Death”

Nancy E. Vranich

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Center for Advanced Biotechnology

“Spinal Cord Proliferation and Differentiation:

 The Role of Neural Tube Closure”

Wenying Zhang, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Biology & Biochemistry/Nelson Laboratories

“A Non-Biased, In Vivo Genetic Screen for Novel Genes

that Protect Against Necrosis”

Jason T. Maikos

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Biomedical Engineering

In Vivo Tissue-Level Thresholds for Spinal Cord Injury”

Jian Qin, Ph.D.

Princeton University

“Characterization and Cloning of a Mouse Gene (sopb) Essential

 for Spinal Cord Patterning”

Kamana Misra, Ph.D.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

“Role of Pax6 in Specifying Dorso-Ventral Neuronal Identities

 in the Developing Spinal Cord”

Individual Research Grant

James Q. Zheng, Ph.D.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

“Inhibitory Mechanisms of Axonal Growth in Spinal Neurons”

Martin Grumet, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience

“Transplantation of Radial Glial Cells into the Spinal Cord and

Spinal Cord Injury”

Ronald Hart, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience

“Spinal Cord Injury Databases and Models:

Accelerating Research with IT”

Maria T. Schultheis, Ph.D.

Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation

“Retraining Driving Skills after Spinal Cord Injury:

A Visual Reality Approach”

James H. Millong, Ph.D.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

The Development of Spinal Cord Therapies Through a

Genetic Analysis of Mouse Spinal Cord Development”

Sally Meiners, Ph.D.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

“Engineering Nanofibrillar Surfaces for Spinal Cord Repair”

Alice Y. C. Liu, Ph.D.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

“Neuroprotective Function of Molecular and Chemical Chaperones”

 
 
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