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According to Tuesday’s statement, the university’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant awards to advance multiple initiatives.

More than $16 million of the grant will fund the second phase of the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program. Initial projects will focus on Hepatitis C virus disparities, smoking cessation and gene expression associated with poverty in Baltimore.

Over $3 million of the NIH grant will fund research initiatives housed in the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences’ biology and chemistry departments. These projects include the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), Support of Competitive Research Excellence (SCORE), and Institutional Research and Career Development Awards (IRACDA), a joint initiative with Johns Hopkins University.

“The grant awards were made possible by the collaboration of more than 25 hardworking faculty and staff members committed to bringing in the resources needed for these important research initiatives,” said Hongtao Yu, Ph.D., dean of the School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “And while each individual grant supports a unique project, they are also complementary and multidisciplinary. The ASCEND, RISE, and IRACDA programs will focus on training of the biomedical workforce, while RCMI and SCORE, and to some extent ASCEND, address basic and behavioral biomedical research related to urban health and health disparities.”

ASCEND, an acronym for A Student-Centered, Entrepreneurship Development, is designed to train a diverse cadre of biomedical research leaders. The ASCEND Center for Biomedical Research was created through a $23.3 million five-year (2014-2019) award from the National Institutes of Health.

“Grants of this nature and size from the National Institutes of Health will only solidify Morgan’s status as a Carnegie-classified ‘high research’ institution and increase research opportunities for both our faculty and students,” said Willie E. May, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Economic Development at Morgan State University. “Building on this foundation, we will continue our efforts toward obtaining similar results from other federal agencies such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Energy, in order to meet our annual goal, set by President Wilson, of securing $50 million per year in sponsored research income within the next few years.”

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