Posted on September 30, 2003
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) applauded today's announcement that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has been selected for a $13.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build a regional bioterrorism research center in Memphis. "Today's announcement is proof that Tennessee is a key player in biotechnology research," said Frist. "This funding will not only bring jobs and economic development to Memphis, but expand Tennessee's role in medical research. The fight against bioterrorism is only as good as our scientific resources, and UT and Memphis will be critical in combating this deadly threat." "We appreciate the investment NIH is making in Memphis," said Alexander. "This center will further establish Tennessee as a leader in the biotech industry. It will also mean more research opportunities to find more ways to keep Americans safe." The funding, totaling $13,767,463, will be used to develop a new regional biocontainment laboratory to study biodefense and microbiological research related to emerging infectious diseases. The facility will include a series of highly secure biosafety laboratories, and administrative and support space. The center will also be responsible for assisting national, state and local public health systems in the event of a bioterrorism attack. This award represents a collaborative effort among the UTHSC, the Memphis BioTech Foundation and The Jackson Laboratory. The competitive grant program is part of a nationwide effort by the NIH to further strengthen biodefense research through the establishment of two national biocontainment laboratories and nine regional centers. The funding was awarded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a subset of NIH.