MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) hosted Director Jon R. Lorsch from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences at West Virginia University (WVU).

Senator Capito and Director Lorsch were joined by leaders from WVU and Marshall University for a discussion highlighting the groundbreaking biomedical research occurring in West Virginia with the help of investments from NIH’s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The group toured the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, the Neuroscience Center and the Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research at WVU.

“From cancer detection and treatment, to the cause and effects of stroke, West Virginia’s Universities are making significant contributions to biomedical research,” said Senator Capito. “Funding from NIH’s IDeA program has enabled our state to build its capacity, and I am grateful that leaders from NIH, WVU and Marshall University came together today for an important discussion about continued investment in our state’s biomedical research programs.”

"I have been extremely impressed by what I have seen in West Virginia, particularly the cooperation among its institutions. Their ability to work together to leverage taxpayer funds for biomedical research will increase the chances for medical breakthroughs. This kind of cooperation should serve as a model for research happening across the country,” said Director Lorsch.

Great academic centers like WVU, Marshall University and others should be solving the problems of real people so that we can improve their health. The programs that have been funded by NIH and supported by Senator Capito have helped provide a network of health centers across West Virginia that can address health disparities to how we can best deliver care to the people of this state,” said Clay Marsh, MD, Executive Dean and Vice President, WVU Health Sciences Center.

West Virginia is one of several small states that receive health-related research funding to serve rural and medically underserved communities through NIH’s IDeA program. Currently, West Virginia receives four IDeA grants totaling $11.3 million in funding. 

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Capito advocated for increased funding for the IDeA program. As a result, the committee passed a budget of $300 million for the IDeA program for Fiscal Year 2016, an increase over last year’s enacted level and the president’s budget request.

Participants in today’s visit hosted by Senator Capito included Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at NIH; W. Fred Taylor, Ph.D., acting director for the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences Center for Research Capacity Building; West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee; John Maher, Ph.D., Vice President for Research, Marshall University; Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University; Clay Marsh, M.D., Executive Dean and Vice President, West Virginia University Health Sciences Center; and Dr. Gary Rankin, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Toxicology at Marshall University and Principal Investigator of West Virginia's Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).