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The Recovery Act: Testimonials from Investigators, Scientists, and Summer Interns around the Country

The NHLBI’s funding under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) is not only accelerating the pace of biomedical research, but it is also helping to stimulate the economy by creating jobs in local communities and opportunities for talented principal investigators and new scientists.

Principal investigators, scientists, and summer interns from across the nation have shared with the NHLBI some of the ways Recovery Act funding has made a difference in their research and in the lives of their colleagues. Here are just a few examples:

"In addition to providing valuable research and salary support to me, a first-time PI, the Recovery Act funds from our recently awarded grant will help support one of my senior scientists Dr. Gautam Pangu, who has been recently hired in our company after completing distinguished academic research as a postdoctoral trainee at the University of Pennsylvania."

P. Peter Ghoroghchian, M.D., Ph.D.
Vindico NanoBioTechnology, Inc.
May 6, 2010

“My ARRA research experience this summer has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and information which has left me in a better position to pursue my ideal profession of becoming a physician. By familiarizing myself with numerous laboratory techniques and protocols, I believe I am vastly better prepared to handle the rigors of being a medical school student and eventually those of a researching physician.

“Throughout the course of the summer, I conducted various medical research experiments, most of which included procedures previously unknown to me. The largest portion of my time was spent investigating the effects TGF-β (Transforming Growth Factor-β) has on miRNA expression levels in normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLF) in vitro. A set of global miRNA data was obtained by performing miRNA microarrays on a number of samples of NHLF. This information could prove invaluable in helping to determine one aspect of the pathogenesis of a fibrotic lung disease known as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

“… This summer’s research experience has done nothing but solidify my passion and desire to continue onward toward my goal of one day becoming a physician. However, as I’ve learned this summer, one doesn’t have to be a practicing physician to be a great doctor. The value I place on medical research has grown exponentially since I began my work this past summer. Though I was sometimes directly exposed to patient situations, research has become for me, a new passion which I plan on exploring more in the future.”

Marcus J. Magister
University of Pittsburgh
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded intern
Administered by the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases, Airway Biology and Disease Branch, Summer 2009
December 16, 2009

“I greatly appreciate the ARRA funding which not only enables me to continue and expand cutting edge research but also will help to fund our graduate and undergraduate students who are developing interests in biomedical science.”

Ming Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
SUNY-Downstate Medical Center
July 23, 2009

"The ARRA grant has been wonderful! I was able to hire a research assistant who had previously worked at our Institute for Environmental Health for 17 years, lost her job due to shortage in funds, and was looking for a new job for nearly a year.  Because of the ARRA funds, Maureen Sisco joined my laboratory on June 1.  That made a huge difference to my research and to Maureen."

Gabriele Grunig, D.V.M., Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
July 24, 2009

“I have already hired a postdoctoral fellow and a Ph.D. student. The postdoctoral fellow used to be my Ph.D. student and he would not have been able to stay at our institution without this funding from NIH. …Additionally, I am in process of hiring a histology technician who will start in September and depending on the situation, I will likely hire another technician either full-time or half-time working on the project.”

Bela Suki, Ph.D.
Boston University
August 19, 2009

“I received a notice that administrative supplement to my R01HL088954 was awarded by ARRA funds. I deeply appreciate this decision made by NHLBI. I have no doubt that this supplemental fund will facilitate our research and assist the recovery of American economy.”

Koji Tamada, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore
August 11, 2009

“We are very grateful to the NHLBI and the NIH for providing two supplements to our R01 which addresses how autoimmune inflammation may contribute to or may even be the primary cause of pulmonary hypertension.

“… The ARRA funds enabled us to hire additional personnel to achieve and slightly expand our original objectives. Mr. Eugene Rachal is a high school science teacher who we have hired for the summer using these funds. He is growing rare and highly valuable monoclonal antibody lines that we are using to characterize (and potentially treat) experimental pulmonary hypertension. Mr. Rachal has expressed great enthusiasm for biomedical research and this exposure will hopefully provide him with either new career options in the biotechnology industry. He is certainly broadening his scientific background in a way that can only strengthen his teaching abilities. Not only is he doing original science, but he is also being asked to give formal presentations which will likely benefit his future public speaking skills. Dr. Amy Tian was hired with funds also made available from the ARRA. She was hired as a new postdoctoral fellow from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

“With Amy on board, we are going to not only accelerate the pace of completing our originally proposed research but will have the funds to better understand the chemokine/cytokine pathways intrinsic to the development of this lethal disease. We would not have been able to do this without the additional funds.”

Mark R. Nicolls, M.D.
Stanford University
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
July 28, 2009

 “Mary Ruehr, a teacher supported by the ARRA this summer, is working on the genetics of atrial fibrillation and is doing important work to make the functional links between genetic markers found to be associated with atrial fibrillation and potential disease causing proteins. Her position funded by the ARRA supplement will help highlight the importance of translational science in her high school, where cuts may affect positions like hers. We would not have been able to support her position without the ARRA.”

Mina K. Chung, M.D.
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
July 23, 2009

“Katie [new staff person] will be getting excellent experience in a research setting which will be extremely valuable as she applies to graduate schools.  I look upon this as an ARRA success story—employing someone in a position in her field of interest, who almost certainly would not have had such a meaningful job without this grant.”

John P. Capitanio, Ph.D.
University of California, Davis
July 23, 2009

“I’d love for some people to be out there saying science is really cool. Science is certainly one of the things that carries humanity forward. What we do is very important, I think.”

Adrian Haimovich
Columbia University
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded intern,
Laboratory of Developmental Systems Biology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Summer 2009
July 23, 2009

“With ARRA funds I have put together an impressive team of physicians, nurses and genetic experts who will work on an important health issue – finding what genes and mechanisms lead to premature artery diseases. These funds are helping me launch my own research career and also that of my collaborator Dr. Rasika Mathias. Dr. Mathias is an outstanding genetic researcher blazing the trail for women in this field. She has just been hired by the department, and my project funds her position in part.

“More importantly, my project creates an opportunity for two newly minted college graduates. Duan Chen is a bioengineer who made the Dean’s list at the University of Maryland. Sam Dodson is graduate of Princeton University with post-baccalaureate training at Johns Hopkins, where he already showed promise in research. As staff on this study, both will take part in exciting cutting-edge research that will enthuse their creativity, and help them set them on brilliant career paths. We will also be hiring a research nurse to coordinate clinical activities. My new research team is a microcosm of the vigor and promise of the new research enterprise.”.

Dhananjay (Jay) Vaidya, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Johns Hopkins University
July 22, 2009

"This opportunity for summer research experience is critical to recruitment of qualified students toward biomedical-research careers. Additionally, the opportunity expands participants' life experience and curricula vitae both through the summer research experience and their subsequent oral and poster presentations. Ashley Richard, the current recipient at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, also participates in weekly meetings with other research faculty to introduce different disciplines including physiology, immunology, biochemistry and microbiology.

"The program assists my investigation of a critical and clinically important area of my funded R01 project; why low birth weight (LBW) leads to an increased risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

"This research area is important to the United States because LBW is a major health issue. It is important for Mississippi in particular since the state ranks first nationally in the rate of LBW and in death from cardiovascular disease."

Barbara T. Alexander, Ph.D.
University of Mississippi Medical Center Jackson
July 22, 2009

"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allowed us to continue our studies in deciphering the genomic fabric of the heart rhythm. Moreover, by saving the academic jobs of three scientists (myself included), it offered us the necessary time and "oxygen" to prepare further project applications."

Dumitru Andrei Iacobas, Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
July 22, 2009

 “We are excited about this grant and how it will help us address hard problems in heart disease. We wish to express our appreciation to Congress and the American people who funded it!”

John Wikswo, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University
July 21, 2009

“Thank you.  The funding under the ARRA initiative has provided me an opportunity to train a post-doctoral fellow in the field of respiratory infections and host innate defenses.”

Uma Sajjan, Ph.D.
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
July 21, 2009

“The ARRA funds were used to hire a former undergraduate student, Michelle Cho, who graduated in June and would like to go to graduate school in two years.  She wanted more "hands on" research experience in the lab.  Without the ARRA funds, I would not have been able offer Michelle a position as a staff research associate at our institution.”

"Michelle and I would like to thank President Obama for increasing NIH funds through ARRA to develop future generation of scientists.  We hope that this increase in support for the NIH continues to sustain these efforts."

Kathleen M. Sakamoto, M.D., Ph.D.
UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
July 20, 2009

Last Updated: December 16, 2009

Other Important Links

Information from the White House and President Obama

Recovery Information from Health and Human Services

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