Skip To Content

Search the Newsroom:

(Seperate multiple keywords with a comma)

Sanford Research/USD Awarded $10 Million NIH Grant for Heart Research

Sanford Research/USD announced today it received a $10 million grant to explore new ways to prevent and treat heart disease.

(Sioux Falls, SD) - Sanford Research/USD announced today it received a $10 million grant to explore new ways to prevent and treat heart disease. The five-year grant comes from the National Center for Research Resources, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The grant is a renewal of a $10 million NIH grant Sanford Research/USD received in 2003 to fund a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). Sanford Research/USD will use the grant to continue its understanding of cardiovascular remodeling which deals with the structural changes in the heart due to lifestyle, medications or physical and hormonal changes. Researchers will continue their investigations into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular remodeling associated with heart development, growth and disease.

“The renewal of our COBRE grant at this level, particularly in this highly competitive funding environment, is well-deserved national recognition of the outstanding scientific discoveries made at Sanford Research/USD over the past five years — discoveries that will ultimately save lives,” said Martin Gerdes, PhD, Director/Senior Scientist with Sanford Research/USD Cardiovascular Research Center.

Original Sanford Research/USD COBRE Grant

The original COBRE grant allowed researchers to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, hire new lab personnel and perform research. It also facilitated the career development of promising young basic researchers and promoted research training for clinician scientists. Their developments led to a significant number of publications with many in prestigious medical journals as well as new programs and seminars. Two papers in particular were featured by NIH leadership during a national conference in 2006.

“The COBRE also enabled the establishment of a highly focused and productive group of scientists who established a national reputation for excellence in cardiovascular research,” added Gerdes.

“Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, an initiative of NCRR’s Institutional Development Award, provide critical support and necessary infrastructure in states, such as South Dakota, where NIH funding has historically been low,” said Sidney A. McNairy, Jr., Ph.D., D.Sc., Associate Director for Research Infrastructure, and Director, Division of Research Infrastructure, NCRR. “This essential support allows the university to build and strengthen its research capacity to further advance cardiovascular health for South Dakota residents and throughout the nation.”

To learn more, visit

About Sanford Research/USD COBRE Researchers
The COBRE grant will offer continued support of the infrastructure established by the original COBRE and project funding for five promising investigators (4 junior and one mid level). Project 1 by Tim O'Connell, PhD will investigate the role of alpha adrenergic receptors in myocardial infarction. Project 2 by Stephen Armstrong, PhD will investigate molecular mechanisms of integrin signaling in dilated cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy. Project 3 by Qiangrong Liang, PhD will investigate the molecular mechanism of cardiac toxicity from the anti-cancer drug Doxorubicin. Project 4 by Erin Harmon will investigate the role of a myotonic dystrophy kinase in myocyte development. Project 5 by David Wang will investigate the molecular mechanisms of thyroid hormone induced angiogenesis in adult heart.

About Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)
COBREs support thematic multidisciplinary centers that augment and strengthen institutional biomedical research capacity. This is accomplished by expanding and developing biomedical faculty research capability and enhancing research infrastructure, including the establishment of core facilities needed to carry out the objectives of a multidisciplinary, collaborative program.

These centers are led by NIH-funded investigators with expertise central to the theme of the grant proposal. The centers promote collaborative interactive efforts among researchers with complementary backgrounds, skills, and expertise. In some instances, COBRE support will facilitate the development of new disease-specific research centers or augment the capability of existing centers. Researchers supported through the COBREs are expected to compete independently for external peer-reviewed grant support.


Stacy Bauer Jones | Media Relations Coordinator
(605) 328-7056 |