Ivy Foundation Commits $2 Million For COVID-19 Translational Research Fund

Aerial view of the UVA Health Hospital

(Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

The Charlottesville-based Ivy Foundation has committed $2 million to accelerate biomedical research focused on COVID-19 at the University of Virginia. The Ivy Foundation COVID-19 Translational Research Fund will support critical research that addresses COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment options, vaccine development and health care worker protection needs.

“The Ivy Foundation COVID-19 Translational Research Fund provides the biomedical research community at UVA with a rare opportunity to respond to challenges related to the global pandemic,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “It builds upon the Ivy Foundation’s legacy of support to the University and its mission to improve health outcomes in our community, the commonwealth and the world. My sincere thanks to the Ivy Foundation and its chair, Dr. Bobby Battle, for this vitally important gift.”

This new expendable fund will be administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research. It will be used to award grants under a framework similar to that of the foundation’s Ivy Biomedical Innovation Fund, which was created in 2008 to support biomedical innovation and translational research projects at UVA that address unmet clinical needs and have a realistic path to delivering improvements in health care.

The Ivy Foundation’s support also will leverage additional funding. “Currently, the federal government is earmarking several hundred million dollars for COVID-19 research,” Melur K. “Ram” Ramasubramanian, the University’s vice president for research, said. “This gift will provide a dedicated source of funding that allows us to be competitive for additional support as we quickly advance critical translational research to mitigate the health effects of COVID-19 and develop additional research questions for pursuit with federal funds.”

“The Ivy Foundation COVID-19 Translational Research Fund will support interdisciplinary projects from multiple departments, schools or specialties at UVA to take full advantage of the breadth of biomedical research expertise at UVA,” Executive Vice President and Provost Liz Magill said. “It is the perfect example of how translational research can be used for the good of society.”

The Ivy Foundation has a long history of supporting the University’s biomedical research program. This support has included funds for endowed professorships in pediatrics and fellowships for researchers in the basic sciences,  as well as a visionary $45 million gift in 2005 that helped fund the construction and renovation of three buildings dedicated to clinical and translational research – the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, the Battle Building at UVA Children’s Hospital and the Ivy Translational Research Building.

“Given the dramatic and unprecedented health effects that COVID-19 is having on the world, I can think of no better way to deploy the resources of the Ivy Foundation than to catalyze research that may lead to a vaccine and other treatments to combat this virus,” said Dr. Robert W. “Bobby” Battle, who chairs the Ivy Foundation and directs UVA’s Adult Congenital Heart Clinic. “We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with UVA’s outstanding researchers and scientists who are urgently seeking solutions that will improve the health of our community and beyond.”

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