Research Means Hope: NIH highlights OHSU health discoveries

As federal budgets tighten, scientists are finding creative new ways to advocate for research funding. Earlier this year, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins asked researchers to tweet about how sequestration was impacting their laboratories using the hashtag #NIHSequesterImpact.

In July, the Association of American Medical Colleges launched its Research Means Hope campaign, which leverages the social media site Tumblr to raise public awareness about important health discoveries funded by taxpayer dollars. OHSU research is featured on the site alongside news from over 30 other universities and medical schools. Posts so far include:

·  Mapping the brain at rest to gain insights into pediatric neurological disorders. New research focuses on understanding the specific connectome that will help better characterize any given child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism, and simultaneously, many other pediatric psychiatric conditions.

· OHSU research team successfully converts human skin cells into embryonic stem cells. Scientists have successfully reprogrammed human skin cells to become embryonic stem cells capable of transforming into any other cell type in the body. Diseases or conditions that might be treated through stem cell therapy include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease and spinal cord injuries.

· Scientists discover a new drug that could treat and prevent malaria, blocking mosquito transmission. OHSU scientists and the Portland VA Medical Center have developed a drug that may represent one of the world’s best hopes for treating and preventing malaria — a disease that kills more than one million people each year.

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Katie Wilkes is program manager for Research Funding & Development Services, where she helps faculty, fellows, and students find funding for their research. She also edits OHSU Research News.