September 16, 2008 — For the second consecutive year, The Hartwell Foundation has named the University of Virginia a Top 10 Center for Biomedical Research.
"We are particularly pleased to once again be selected by The Hartwell Foundation as a center of excellence, because we share their commitment to develop cross-functional translational scientists spanning our comprehensive research capabilities," said Thomas Skalak, U.Va.'s vice president for research. "These Hartwell-sponsored scientists will be critical in solving the most complex biomedical challenges and developing novel approaches to treating diseases in the area of children’s health."
In selecting each research center of excellence, The Hartwell Foundation takes into account the shared values the institution has with the foundation relating to children's health, the presence of an associated medical school and biomedical engineering program, and the quality and scope of ongoing biomedical research.
The foundation also considers the institutional commitment to provide technical support to funded investigators, especially as related to approaches that could promote rapid clinical application of research results, including technology transfer.
"We are honored The Hartwell Foundation has again recognized the trailblazing work of our biomedical researchers and partnered with us to explore promising new treatments and technologies to help children," said Steven T. DeKosky, vice president and dean of the U.Va. School of Medicine.
Earlier this year, U.Va. biomedical engineer Richard J. Price received a $300,000, three-year grant from The Hartwell Foundation for an innovative treatment method for pediatric brain tumors. Price was the first U.Va. scientist to receive a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award.
By participating in the Hartwell process, U.Va. qualified to receive a Hartwell Fellowship to fund a postdoctoral researcher designated by the University. Cynthia Grimsley-Myers of the Department of Cell Biology, received the award, which will enable her to pursue further specialized research training on defects in inner-ear development, a leading cause of childhood deafness.
U.Va. will again have the opportunity to select a fellow and nominate four researchers to receive individual research awards, thanks to the 2008 designation.
Based in Memphis, Tenn., The Hartwell Foundation's primary mission is to grant awards to individuals for innovative and cutting-edge biomedical applied research that potentially benefits children. The general aim is to provide funds for early-stage research projects that have not yet qualified for funding from traditional sources.
In making Individual Biomedical Research Awards, the foundation takes into account the nature of the proposed innovation, the extent to which translational approaches will promote rapid clinical application of the research results, the supportive role of collaboration, and the institutional commitment to provide encouragement and technical support.