NIH grant funds core research facilities

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the West Virginia University Center for Neuroscience $5.5 million to support new state of the art research technologies on the WVU Health Sciences campus.

The award will be used to further develop five Core Research Facilities used extensively by faculty in neurosciences and other researchers at WVU: genomics, advanced imaging, transgenic research, non-linear optical microscopy, and tissue processing. It also will be used to fund collaborative multidisciplinary pilot projects in neurosciences research.

Core facilities are laboratories that house advanced technology that can be shared for use by researchers in other departments across the University, guided by experts at the Center.

“This award continues our investment in cutting-edge equipment and technologies as well as in the people – the experts – necessary for our modern research programs,” George Spirou, Ph.D., director of the Center for Neuroscience, said.  “Our scientists are united by their fascination and excitement in studying the most mysterious of biological systems, the nervous system.”

The $5.5 million grant will be disbursed over the next five years.  It is awarded through the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) Institutional Development Award program, designed to build Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). This is the third COBRE grant awarded to the WVU Center for Neuroscience since 2000, marking a total investment of more than $23 million.  The COBRE awards have spawned an additional $13.5 million in research funding from other sources.

“The COBRE program provides critical support and infrastructure in states including West Virginia, where NIH funding historically has been low,” NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D., said. “This award will enable the University to establish and sustain core facilities that provide advanced technologies for neuroscience research, and provide training opportunities for a new generation of biomedical researchers.”

The WVU Center for Neuroscience serves to foster collaboration between investigators in sensory neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, stroke and other neural injury, and cognitive neuroscience.

For example, Dr. Spirou’s research involves discovering how the brain determines where sound is coming from.  Peter Mathers, Ph.D., who leads the Transgenic Core, studies how abnormal vision and hearing develop.  Ray Raylman, Ph.D., radiology professor, is refining a device for PET/CT guided breast biopsy.

The Center for Neuroscience began as a collaborative effort of neuroscientists throughout various departments at WVU.  It consists of more than 35 scientific laboratories across the University and at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

For more information about the WVU Center for Neurosciences, visit


For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
alj: 10-21-10