UNC to Open Four New 'Labs'

Four new public health innovation laboratories will be started in July with grants of $100,000 to $350,000 each at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health.

It's the latest set of the targeted research projects funded from an earlier $50 million donation to the university from Dennis and Joan Gillings. Dennis Gillings is the founder of Research Triangle Park-based Quintiles Transnational.

The 14 labs funded so far from competitive proposals submitted by UNC faculty are to help accelerate solutions to some of the most challenging public health problems. The four new innovation laboratories will focus on treating hog waste for energy recovery while meeting environmental goals, developing methods and open source software for genetic research, determining the benefits and harms drugs pose for older adults and creating a seamless global classroom.

Julie MacMillan, managing director of Carolina Public Health Solutions, which administers the 2-year-old innovation laboratories program, said the competitive process starts in the fall, when faculty are asked to submit initial proposals. A review panel then selects a few of those to submit more complete proposals, and winners are announced in March.

The number of innovation laboratories funded each year depend primarily on the money remaining in the endowment, said MacMillan. Five were announced last year at this time, followed by another four later in the year. With this year's economic pressures, she said, the current four will probably be all the program will add this year.

She said the university is pursuing federal and private outside funding sources to help supplement the Gillings grants.

Read the full news release

Tue, 03/31/2009 - 04:00