Office of Biomedical Research Resources provides research funds
Posted: 08/07/2001
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The Office of Biomedical Research Resources at The University of Texas-Pan American has provided $35,000 for five research projects in the biomedical field and is accepting applications from faculty and students for additional research.

The office, which received a grant from the National Institutes of Health in June 2000, focuses on sponsoring biomedical/behavioral research at UTPA by providing funding for faculty-student pilot studies. Funding will be available through December 2002.

"Biomedical research enhances faculty and student development at UTPA," said Dr. George Eyambe, OBRR director. "To be competitive in acquiring grants to fund research projects, you are required to demonstrate prior research experience and provide data supportive of the feasibility of the proposed research. Grants from the OBRR help researchers acquire required preliminary data."

Dr. Esperanza Briones, left, dietetics program coordinator and recipient of a $7,000 grant from the Office of Biomedical Research Resources, works with her research assistant, senior dietetics student Amalia Rivera. Briones is one of several UTPA faculty awarded an OBRR grant.

The first group of researchers were funded in March and include Dr. Esperanza Briones, dietetics program coordinator, $6,989 for The Effectiveness of Medical Nutrition Therapy in Diabetes Management; and Dr. Carolina Huerta, Nursing Department chair, $6,500 for Health Promotion for University Personnel.

Also, Dr. Bahram Faraji, associate professor, $6,950 for Zinc Deficiency and Vitamins B-2 and B-6 Status in the Rat; Dr. Angela Hausman, assistant professor, $6,081 for Impact of Patient-Physician Relationships on Compliance; and Eyambe, $7,164 for Characterization of Earthworm Molecules that Bind to Anti-Human IgG and Their Potential As Biomarkers of Environmental Pollutants Toxicity.

The grants are designed to help researchers gather the data needed to develop their own grant proposals.

Hausman is currently in the final stages of preparing her proposal for a $100,000 grant from the Minority Biomedical Research Support program that will be submitted in October. She said the "seed" money has allowed her to hire research assistants to collect data for her project.

"They (grants) provide some of the necessary operating funds needed to support University research," Hausman said. "They provide practical training and experience to our students, financial support for the students to continue their education and research output that might make our society healthier and safer."

Briones' study will test culturally relevant dietary and lifestyle education interventions that will be effective in Mexican-Americans with Type II diabetes.

"The pilot study will be used as preliminary work to identify and eliminate potential problems in a larger scale study," Briones said. "The grant provides exposure to students in biomedical research, and at the same time, it gives them experience."

Senior dietetics student Amalia Rivera is Briones' research assistant. She said the project has allowed her to gain valuable hands-on experience.

"Being a research assistant will give me an added advantage," Rivera said. "It will give me a head start by learning how to interview clients and provide them with health counseling."

Faculty and students interested in applying for the pilot grants may contact Eyambe at 956/381-2297. The deadline to submit applications is Nov. 15.