R.I. Foundation awards $360K in medical research grants

PROVIDENCE – Fifteen medical research projects have been awarded more than $360,000 in seed funding from the Rhode Island Foundation to help with various health care needs locally, the nonprofit funder announced Monday.

The foundation said the grants are designed to help early-career researchers move their projects along so that they can compete for national funding. The work the projects are focusing on range from reducing post-traumatic stress disorder in new mothers after undergoing Cesarean sections to developing strategies to help people Parkinson’s disease patients remain independent, the foundation said.

In a statement, foundation CEO and President Neil D. Steinberg said it is the funder’s hope that the success of the research projects will bring about “healthier lives as well as contribute to a healthier economy.” Since 1997, the foundation has awarded $4.8 million in research grants.

Rhode Island Hospital received six grants totaling $144,427. The money, the foundation said, will be used for various projects, including to study therapy to prevent drug-induced sudden cardiac death by candidates for research drugs; alterations in drug-induced Parkinsonism; factors influencing membrane transport in peritoneal dialysis; and cancer therapy studies.

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The University of Rhode Island received $99,607 in total grants for four research projects. The foundation said URI researchers will develop a pilot study looking into Parkinson’s disease; rehabilitation strategies for stoke patients; and physical therapy and DNA studies.

The Miriam Hospital’s three projects received $74,924 in funding from the foundation. The hospital intends to study how to diminish PTSD impacts on women after receiving Cesarean sections; developing therapies for chronic pelvic pain; and developing a peer-led community to support women in cardiac rehab.

Women & Infants Hospital’s project looking into exploiting chemotherapeutic effects in serious ovarian cancer received $25,000 in seed funding from the foundation.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.