OMAHA – The Department of Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has received a grant of $10.3 million — the largest single research grant in university history – surpassing its own previous record that lasted five years.
The award is the Phase II of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant mechanism from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the most competitive grant programs in the country. Funds from the grant will enable the department to further strengthen its world-class research infrastructure by establishing three new research cores: The Movement Analysis Core, the Nonlinear Analysis Core, and the Machining and Prototyping Core.
- The Movement Analysis Core will provide biomechanical testing and support for research within the center and the community.
- The Nonlinear Analysis Core will provide analysis of data and education in data interpretation.
- The Machining and Prototyping Core will provide design, consultation, manufacturing and prototyping services to the center and the community.
Research projects carried out in these cores will provide biomechanics students with the unique opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research alongside senior clinical NIH-funded scientists. The grant will also enable the department to bring additional funded investigators from various disciplines to UNO’s campus.
Investigators aim to use their findings within human movement variability research to treat and ultimately prevent movement-affected disorders. For example, in Phase II of the grant, scholars will study falls among patients with Parkinson’s disease; exoskeleton support for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease; movement variability among those using prosthesis; and stabilizing movements after slips – among a number of other impactful research projects already underway.
“We are here to make a difference not just through education, but also clinical and translational research."
- Nicholas Stergiou, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of the Division of Biomechanics and Research Development
“Receiving the next phase of COBRE funding through this record-breaking grant is a testament to the quality of our interdisciplinary researchers and their exceptional accomplishments,” said Nicholas Stergiou, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of the Division of Biomechanics and Research Development. “We are here to make a difference not just through education, but also clinical and translational research, and every single person who walks into our building understands that and is proud to be part of that mission.”
The COBRE Phase I grant, a $10.1 million grant awarded to UNO in 2014, was previously the largest single research grant in university history. It led to the establishment of the Center of Research in Human Variability (MOVCENTR), tremendous growth in research infrastructure, and recruitment of some of the leading researchers in the field.
UNO will be eligible for Phase III in 2024. Through these grants, MOVCENTR is positioned to become the nation’s leading research center. In a study conducted by the UNO Economics Department, it was estimated that the MOVCENTR brought an economic impact of $1.5 million to the Omaha metropolitan area just in its first two years of operation — a figure that was expected to triple by the end of COBRE Phase I.
“This award empowers the university to build on its research and strategic momentum, at the same time enhancing UNO’s reputation as a global leader in the field of biomechanics research,” said Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “Under Dr. Stergiou’s leadership, the Biomechanics team and our generous community partners have allowed us to define the culture of research excellence at UNO. Through this grant and the nearing completion of the Biomechanics Research Building’s privately-funded expansion, the future is certainly bright for biomechanics and research growth at UNO.”
The expansion, which will more than double the size of the original Biomechanics Research Building, will open this fall, with a grand opening scheduled for Oct. 22.
The grant funding was provided by the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences under Award Number P20GM109090. This press release is a summary of the research and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.