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U of Tennessee Health Science Center is fostering inter-discipline collaboration with new funding program

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: March 13th, 2019

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has created a seed funding program to promote collaboration between researchers from different departments.

The Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) is focused on funding new research projects and partnerships throughout UTHSC. Since its inception in 2016, the program has given out $1.5 million in funding for new research projects, leading to $12.2 million in additional funding from outside sources including the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“What is clever about the CORNET program is that it provides incentives and actively promotes intellectual engagement between the research faculty in different departments, and between investigators with dissimilar expertise,” says Glen Palmer, associate professor at UTHSC’s College of Pharmacy. “This has forged a large number of new interdepartmental collaborations that have elevated the quality of science conducted at UTHSC and leveraged our collective expertise to create an entirely new set of research opportunities.”

The CORNET program has also enabled UTHSC researchers to collaborate with other scientists in Tennessee, regionally and around the globe. Palmer, who has received two CORNET awards, collaborated with Birmingham-based Southern Research on his research concerning antifungals.

Monica Jablonski, a professor of ophthalmology at UTHSC, received a CORNET award and later secured a $1.5 million NIH grant for her work on ophthalmic diseases.

“UTHSC and Memphis are very supportive of entrepreneurship right now,” says Jablonski. “The CORNET funding helped me gather the extra data I needed to win my newest NIH award, and the UTHSC Innovation Lab has helped me to explore innovative avenues related to biotechnology.”

Source: Memphis Business Journal

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