BAR HARBOR, MAINE – Today U.S. Senator Susan Collins and Representative Mike Michaud announced that the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) will receive a grant totaling nearly $13 million from the National Institutes of Health to support research to enhance tissue repair and regeneration, and extend healthy lifespan. The competitive grant will provide funding to scientists working in the Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine at MDIBL for the next five years.
“Research to prolong healthy lifespan and to slow and reverse the degenerative processes associated with aging is a critical component of our efforts to reduce our nation’s healthcare costs,” said Senator Collins, who sent a letter supporting MDIBL’s grant request. “By learning how organisms such as the zebrafish can regenerate damaged tissues and applying these lessons to humans, scientists at MDIBL are increasing our understanding of how we might one day slow and potentially reverse the degenerative effects of aging. This research could impact the lives of millions of Americans suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.”
The grant, an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, is designed to build research capacities in states such as Maine that historically have had low levels of funding from the National Institutes of Health. According to Representative Michaud, an advocate of expanding biomedical research in Maine, “Investing in Maine’s research capacity is critical to our economic future. We must continue to recruit and train outstanding young scientists like those at MDIBL who are on the cutting edge of science. By doing so, we will improve our health and create a robust economy based on technology, innovation and new knowledge.”
The award will create and sustain 26 high quality jobs at MDIBL over the next five years, and 86% of the total award will be spent in Maine. “This award builds on the unique strengths of MDIBL and will greatly enhance our research programs and our ability to recruit the best scientists to Maine,” said Dr. Kevin Strange, Director and CEO of MDIBL. “There is only one other institution in the world taking this approach to identifying the mechanisms involved in natural tissue repair and regeneration. Establishing a critical mass of scientists with a focus on regenerative biology is not only good for MDIBL, but is an opportunity for Maine to be a world leader in this rapidly emerging field.”
According to Dr. Nadia Rosenthal, founding director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and Chair of Cardiovascular Science at Imperial College London, “Comparative regenerative biology is an emerging field that is gaining momentum internationally, but there are few centers that have devoted the necessary focus, talent and resources to pursue this research at the level that MDIBL has done. This award is well deserved and will establish the Laboratory as a major player on the world stage in regenerative medicine.” Rosenthal currently serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors at MDIBL.