In the last month, scientists from the Burke Medical Research Institute have received over $1 million in grants to further their research.
The NIH/ Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health & Human Development has awarded $195,000 to BMRI for a two year project entitled “Transcranial direct current stimulation and robotic training in adults with cerebral palsy.” This award will provide $97,500 per year for the project, which will be led by Kathleen Friel, Ph.D. Director of the Clinical Laboratory for Early Brain Injury Recovery and Dylan Edwards, Ph.D., P.T. Director of the Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Human Motor Control Laboratory.
Along with this grant, BMRI researchers were also awarded close to $1 million from New York State. Dianna Willis, Ph.D., director of pain research, received $448,978 for her project on “Alterations in extracellular vesicle communication as a cause of NMJ dysfunction after SCI,” while Jason Carmel, M.D., Ph.D., received $450,419 for his research on “Delayed versus immediate motor training following brain stimulation to enhance recovery in rats with chronic corticospinal tract injury.”
The funding is administered by the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research program (SCIRP). Burke was instrumental in advocating for money to be reinstated to the fund, including implementing a letter writing campaign which generated over 1,000 letters and spearheading a change.org petition, which garnered over 500 signatures.
Since 1998, SCIRP had been funded through a law that stipulates a surcharge on those convicted of moving traffic violations. But in 2010, all of the revenue derived from the surcharge was diverted from spinal cord research to the general fund and used to pay the state’s operating bills instead of research projects. After the campaign, it was announced that the money would be diverted back to SCIRP for its original purpose.
This “marks the first round of competitive award since funding was re-instated for the program in 2013,” according to a release from NY State.