Two Rhode Island hospital systems celebrated renewed COBRE grants this week. Rhode Island has hosted nine of the federally funded research centers in the last 15 years.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Two NIH grant renewals announced this week by the state’s two largest hospital systems will bring about $10 million of research funding to Rhode Island over the next five years. Brown faculty members play key roles in each of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBREs) that received about $5 million each in new funding.

On Friday, June 5, 2015, Lifespan announced $5.8 million in new funding for Center for Cancer Research Development, based at Rhode Island Hospital. Two days earlier Care New England announced nearly $5 million to continue the work of its Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Perinatal Biology.

In all, the state has hosted nine COBREs over the last 15 years that support research on areas as varied as stem cells and the central nervous system. Earlier this spring, researchers from each of the COBREs presented examples of their work at a daylong symposium.

“The renewal of these two COBREs reinforces that our academic medical center is producing important and worthwhile research in a variety of fields,” said Edward Hawrot, associate dean for biology in Brown University’s Division of Biology and Medicine. “We at Brown look forward to continuing to work with our hospital partners to improve health in Rhode Island and beyond.”

Hawrot joined Lifespan officials and members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation in speaking June 5 about Lifespan’s cancer center renewal.

“These studies have aimed at elucidating the cellular and molecular pathways leading to cancer, especially cancers of the liver, intestine, pancreas, and colon,” Hawrot said. “Such efforts are in complete alignment with the [Alpert] Medical School's priorities, which include a major focus on the advancement of research in translational science.”

The newly established Brown Institute for Translational Science will work closely with the cancer COBRE over the next five years to help translate fundamental discoveries in basic science into new diagnostics and therapeutic approaches, Hawrot said.