New Cooperative Agreement to Aid in the Development of Therapeutics and Vaccines, Improve Access to Medication
Published 1/13/22 on UMD Right Now
The Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) announces a newly funded five-year cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) headed by the Co-Directors of IBBR, Dr. David J. Weber (PI) and Dr. John Marino (NIST). This award provides more than $3.3 million each year to support groundbreaking research, including technology and standards development that will impact vaccine and therapeutic discovery and development, and to improve access to life-saving treatments for addressing other crucial health challenges.
IBBR is a joint research enterprise of the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and NIST. Research born out of this new cooperative agreement will be applied to accelerating the development and manufacturing of new pharmaceutical and vaccine approaches including cell and gene therapies and mRNA vaccines. This type of bioscience and bioengineering research will enable robust and rapid responses to pandemics and help remove obstacles to care and treatment related to rare childhood diseases and complex cancers.
“Trusting in and funding research makes it possible to find solutions to address major health and scientific challenges, and to prepare for the unknown,” said Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “UMB has invested heavily in operational support and high-end instruments for IBBR in support of the NIST relationship. I am very pleased to see that the long-standing NIST collaboration will continue.”
As part of the new agreement, NIST provided state-of-the-art equipment for the “IBBR Commons”—a highly sophisticated research space shared with researchers throughout Maryland and the nation. For example, NIST recently partnered with Maryland to establish the Maryland Center for Advanced Molecular Analysis (M-CAMA) that established new cryo-electron (cryoEM) instruments and facilities to be used by NIST and researchers in Maryland for the timely development of new therapies and vaccines.
“IBBR has long provided the critical link necessary to bring together researchers across disciplines to address major health challenges and help strengthen the state’s economic base in bioscience and biotechnology,” said Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D., President of the University of Maryland, College Park. “I am so pleased this collaboration between NIST and the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park remains strong, and I look forward to seeing the innovations it will lead to in the future.”
IBBR was established by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents in 2010, building on and integrating previous partnerships between the University of Maryland and NIST that date back to 1984. The institute connects dozens of experts from interrelated fields of study with the common goal of accomplishing world-class interdisciplinary research that can lead to real-world advances like drug discovery, more effective vaccines, and disease prevention and treatment.
“Achieving truly groundbreaking results in fields like bioscience and biotechnology requires a wide array of resources, perspectives and expertise—from pharmaceutical and biotech companies to academic and government institutions, to foundations and NGOs,” said Jennifer King Rice, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Provost of the University of Maryland, College Park. “What makes IBBR so unique and impactful is its ability to stand in the center of this circle of voices as the catalyst for collaborative and impactful work.”
“Having this important cooperative agreement with NIST enables us to develop and share the most sophisticated and advanced instrumentation for use in the discovery, development and manufacturing of safe and effective new medicines to treat human disease—including, most recently, for COVID19,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, Ph.D., MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
IBBR is a joint research enterprise of the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). IBBR brings together critical elements necessary to inspire transformative discoveries in the field of bioscience and biotechnology and provides innovative solutions to major scientific and engineering challenges important to society. IBBR researchers seek to advance the fields of biomedical research, therapeutic development, biomedical manufacturing, and state-of-the-art measurement technologies, to support accelerated delivery of safe and effective medicines to the public. IBBR is financially supported in part by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, an initiative designed to achieve innovation and impact through collaboration.