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Research Without Funding

 

A car without an engine, a bicycle without tires... they just don't work. Neither does research without funding. In order to make discoveries that lead to treatments and cures for our nation's most devastating diseases, researchers need test tubes and other equipment, lab staff to conduct research and analyze results... things that cost money. But the March 2013 sequester cut funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which in turn forced NIH to give fewer grants to support research projects. Promising studies are being delayed or stopped altogether as a result of reduced NIH funding. 

We knew the impact of NIH funding cuts was going to be devastating. We asked researchers to share the real-life stories, and you can read a few of their responses below.

 Brett Mitchell, PhD, a researcher at Texas A&M Health Science Center, has let one lab technician go already as a result of reduced funding, and a second lab technician will be let go this summer. Mitchell says, "We were really close to discovering a novel therapy to decrease blood pressure in patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, which include those who have received an organ transplant and those with autoimmune diseases, however without NIH funding being restored, we will have to abandon this project and try to operate a laboratory without any technicians."

Shoba Ghosh, PhD, FAHA,  a researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University, shared that she is faced with reducing the scope of her studies as a result of the sequester. She said "At this crucial point, a decrease in funding will slow us down, resulting in delayed development of a potentially novel therapeutic strategy for preventing heart disease. This and similar instances across the nation underscore the need to restore funding for heart disease."      
 Mark Sussman,PhD,  a researcher at San Diego State University, said they are are struggling to recover from the devestating news of reduced NIH funding and expressed concern about the impact on training future researchers and recruiting underrepresented minorities into the field of cardiovascular research. Sussman shares, "Our program involves training of multiple postdoctoral and junior faculty with promising careers that will be compromised by lack of support." He goes on to say that his program provides rare and important access to training in cardiovascular research for the underrepresented Hispanic population, and that the program's diversity-related efforts have helped to launch the careers of many minority students.

Research is our best hope for finding new ways to prevent, treat and cure diseases, but the future of research is in jeopardy. Stay tuned for your opportunity to call on Congress to restore funding for NIH.

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