Kenneth Rainin Foundation Awards $2.6M to Leading Researchers in IBD

Kenneth Rainin Foundation Awards $2.6M to Leading Researchers in IBD
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Innovator Award winners

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has granted $2.6 million through its Innovator Awards program to researchers working to improve  the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

This funding will go toward supporting cutting-edge research worldwide that may lead to major breakthroughs.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has doubled the award money, reaching up to $200,000 per research project this year, in an effort to aid researchers working to advance from the discovery phase to a stage that might directly impact patient care.

“We are providing more resources to enable researchers to build their body of work. This is especially important for new research projects,” Dr. Laura Wilson, director of health strategy and ventures at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, said in a press release. “We fund unconventional ideas that could have a greater impact on the lives of those who suffer from IBD.”

Grant money awarded will help further the understanding of IBD by supporting various areas of research, such as diet and nutrition, immunity, inflammation, and the microbiome.

“This funding will allow us to investigate how genetic predispositions may contribute to the development of IBD, potentially enabling the development of new therapies that might treat or prevent the disease,” said Marcia Goldberg, a professor of medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the grant awardees.

Grants are awarded to early-stage as well late-stage researchers who are pursuing a range of projects.

For 2018, the Innovator Award recipients include Christian Brendel, PhD, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital; Ajay Chawla, MD, at the University of California, San Francisco; Gerard Eberl, PhD, at the Institut Pasteur; Marcia Goldberg, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital; Rustem Ismagilov, PhD, at the California Institute of Technology; John Leong, PhD, at Tufts University; Roni Nowarski, PhD, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Carla Rothlin, PhD, at Yale University.

“Although the last decades have seen tremendous progress in how to control inflammation, the final frontier in IBD is how to heal the damaged tissue. The Rainin Foundation’s support encourages us to be intrepid and take on this challenge,” said Rothlin, an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

Investigators who show substantial progress after their first year of funding are eligible for up to two extra years of support.

This year, the foundation is continuing to support 14 winners of awards given in 2016 and 2017.

“We are delighted to continue our studies applying novel genomics technologies to the role of virus-bacteria interactions in IBD. These explorations, which will uncover new insights into how the microbiota contributes to these diseases, would not be possible without the generous support of the Rainin Foundation,” said Megan T. Baldridge, an assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine who is among those given continued support.

The foundation will also host the eighth annual Innovations Symposium on July 13-15, 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The meeting  brings together IBD researchers, trainees, and clinicians in the field to advance ideas with the goal of finding a cure.

Since 2010, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation has awarded more than $11 million in support of research aiming for new IBD treatments or disease prevention.

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