UofM/UTHSC grant competition yields 23 COVID-19 research proposals


IMAGE: Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal
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Credit: UTHSC

Memphis, Tenn. (July 1, 2020) – The University of Memphis (UofM) and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) are teaming up in a venture to secure a portion of federal funding allocated for COVID-19 research. The two universities issued a call for collaborative research proposals, which has yielded 23 projects addressing the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its related disease, COVID-19.

The awards at stake are part of UTHSC’s Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) program, a seed funding initiative designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration on novel and innovative research that will lead to larger, national grants. The UofM/UTHSC SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Research CORNET is a grant competition specifically geared to facilitate new collaborations between UTHSC and UofM faculty on projects designed to better understand the disease and find therapies to end the pandemic. Funding is available for up to five teams, each of which must have at least one principal investigator from each of the partner institutions. Each funded project will receive $50,000, with the UofM and UTHSC contributing equally to the award.

“It is critical that the medical and scientific aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic be addressed first,” said Jasbir Dhaliwal, PhD, executive vice president for research and innovation at the UofM. “The social and economic consequences can be mitigated if the scientific problem is resolved quickly.”

“UTHSC research faculty are working diligently to find efficacious treatments for COVID-19,” said Steven Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for research at UTHSC. “These studies range from basic and translational research being performed by Dr. Colleen Jonsson in the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory to clinical trials brought in through CTN2 and our UTHSC clinical trial offices. Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal and I are now using the powerful CORNET Award platform to bring together researchers from UofM and UTHSC to collaborate on research projects that take advantage of the synergistic expertise at both institutions. The level of interest by faculty at both campuses, exemplified by 23 joint applications, is gratifying. Most importantly, the funded applications will address the health of all Tennesseans and people around the globe being impacted by this pandemic.”

The submitted proposals run the translational science spectrum from T0, or basic science research conducted in laboratories (such as the study of multi-organ tissue injury resulting from COVID-19 infection), to T4, or community-based research. Examples include a look at how the COVID-19 epidemic is affecting vulnerable populations in Shelby County; or examining how COVID-19 is impacting school services for children with disabilities and their families.

The goal of these team-based projects is to generate data that will lead to larger, national grants. The CORNETs have a strong track record in generating subsequent federal funding. Since the creation of the awards in 2016, $1.8 million in CORNETs have been awarded; extramurally funded grants stemming from CORNET stimulated research totals over $19 million – an 11-fold return on investment.


For more information, please contact Jasbir Dhaliwal at [email protected] or Steve Goodman at [email protected].

As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit uthsc.edu. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/uthsc, on Twitter: twitter.com/uthsc and on Instagram: instagram.com/uthsc.

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis, which is ranked in the top tier for public universities by U.S. News & World Report, is nationally-recognized for its academic, research and athletic programs. The UofM educates more than 22,000 students and awards more than 4,000 degrees annually. Proud to offer the Helen Hardin Honors College, the largest honors college in the state, the UofM has also been ranked in the top 10 for Student Internships by U.S. News & World Report. The prestigious Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, which has been named three times (2014, 2018, 2020) as having the “Best Law School Facilities” in the nation, had a seven percent federal judicial clerkship rate for the Class of 2017, placing it among the top law schools in the United States. The UofM is also pleased to offer Tennessee’s only doctoral degree program in music through the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, which will be opening a new $40 million, 40,000-square-foot music center. The Loewenberg College of Nursing, in its 52nd year, was nationally-recognized for diversity. As the largest Graduate School in the Mid-South, the UofM had close to twenty graduate programs ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. With a variety of nationally ranked programs, the University stands out as a leader in the virtual delivery of advanced education through its online degree collective, UofM Global. More than 3,500 UofM students are taking courses solely online from 39 states and multiple countries. UofM Global, ranked No. 1 in the State of Tennessee and in the top five online programs in the Mid-South by U.S. News & World Report, has endless opportunities to assist with a career path without the boundaries set forth by traditional college structures. The University of Memphis has close academic and research relationships with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including FedEx, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, AutoZone and International Paper, all located in the City of Memphis.



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