Campus News

Bowdoin Joins Maine's Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN)

Story posted October 16, 2002

October 16, 2002 - Bowdoin College is joining Maine's Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN), it was announced today at a news conference in Augusta.

BRIN was established by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) last year through a grant from the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health. A $2.5 million supplemental grant was recently awarded, significantly boosting the push to increase research training in the state.

This supplemental two-year award complements the initial grant of $5.5 million received in October 2001. These additional funds will enable Bowdoin College to join the six current members of BRIN which include, Bates, Colby, College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine, The Jackson Laboratory and the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.

Participants in the BRIN grant form a network that provides unique educational opportunities for undergraduate students to study comparative genomics, which compares gene function among different species and aids in determining which genes play a role in human disease. At the same time, BRIN strengthens Maine's capacity to compete for federal research dollars by establishing collaborative partnerships among established scientists and junior faculty at participating institutions.

According to John Forrest, M.D., director of MDIBL, "approval of this BRIN supplemental award affirms what can be accomplished when several institutions work together to achieve a common goal, a goal that means greater research training programs and new jobs for Maine. The addition of Bowdoin College as a partner institution will enable us to further expand career opportunities in science throughout the state."

"Bowdoin is very pleased to become a full partner in the Maine BRIN," said Ronald L. Christensen, Ph.D., the James Stacy Coles Professor of Natural Sciences and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Sciences at Bowdoin College. "The formation of the BRIN network is a significant step in enhancing Maine's research capacity in the biomedical sciences, especially in functional genomics, and we are eager to contribute to this initiative. Programs supported by this consortium will benefit our students in the form of short courses, internships and access to visiting speakers. BRIN also will facilitate closer research connections between Bowdoin faculty and scientists at MDIBL, The Jackson Laboratory, and the other members of the consortium."

"This is an excellent example," said Patricia Hand, Ph.D., principal investigator on the grant, "of how seed money from the state of Maine for biomedical research can result in increased federal research dollars."

The BRIN grant is a competitive grant among states which have historically received less than five percent of NIH grant revenues each year. The purpose is to help those states build the infrastructure to more successfully compete for federal NIH dollars and, more importantly, support and conduct important biomedical research.

Visit the BRIN Web site at http://www.brinme.net for more information.

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