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Published by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 2016-12-13 14:19:23

2016 Winter Bunsen Burner

Bunsen Burner



Getting research funding when The National Institutes
you’re starting out as an independent of Health created the COBRE
scientist is tough. Getting it in a part of the program to help junior investigators
country that doesn’t have a long tradition of medical in the 25 states that historically have had the
research is even tougher. lowest levels of NIH funding. The idea behind the
program was to help “level the playing field,” as
Thank goodness for COBREs. the Oklahomas, Nevadas and Louisianas of the
No, we don’t mean the snakes. We’re talking world don’t have the same research resources and
about the acronym for the Centers of Biomedical infrastructure that exists in places like Massachusetts
Research Excellence. or California.
Led by an established, senior scientist, COBRE
COBRE support allowed grants help support the work of a group of junior
my lab to generate the investigators who have yet to earn their first major
preliminary data we grants from the NIH. And it’s a program that has paid
needed to secure our first major dividends for OMRF.
R01. It also helped me staff Since 2000, OMRF has succeeded in earning four
my young lab with extra personnel different COBRE grants. The grants initially run for
and to take some critical risks that five years, and they can be renewed twice, although
expanded my research program. the renewal process is a competitive one.
All told, since 2000 OMRF has been awarded more
- Courtney Griffin than $96 million in COBRE funding. Those funds
have helped more than two dozen junior researchers
start their laboratories at OMRF.

continued on page 2

COBRE Power cont. The COBRE program
has provided much-
“I think it’s an unbelievable program,” says Linda needed funding for
Thompson, who serves as the principal investigator early investigators like
on one of OMRF’s COBREs. “Some of these smaller me and brings together
states could just never have gotten off the ground a group of strong scientists with
without it. Some of the grants I’ve reviewed, they start common research interests.
with absolutely nothing. They can be and have been - Chris Sansam
transformative for departments and organizations.”
your first RO1 grant,” which then provides scientists
Rod McEver leads a COBRE that was first funded with five years of support for their research. “These
in 2003 and has provided key early-stage funding funds give new, young independent researchers the
for several junior investigators for more than a chance to build a strong foundation.”
decade. It’s supported the work of scientists such
as Courtney Griffin, Tim Griffin, Lijun Xia and For as much help as the research dollars provide,
Sathish Srinivasan, who have gone on to make Linda sees another key benefit to the program: the
important findings in arthritis, colon cancer and guidance junior scientists receive from the senior
vascular disorders. investigators on the COBRE grants.

“Their achievements really show how successful “Take Chris Sansam,” says Linda. “He was one of
this COBRE initiative can be and exactly what it the junior investigators to receive COBRE funding,
can accomplish with hard work,” says Rod. “It’s an and he received incredible COBRE mentorship in-
amazing program, and all the scientists on it now house from Gary Gorbsky and Dean Dawson.
have their own funding. The COBRE did exactly what
it was supposed to do: mentor young researchers “Now he has his own R01 funding, too, which is
and prepare them to work independently.” kind of the gold standard of a COBRE. He and many
other scientists here are prime examples of exactly
COBRE funding, says Linda, “is great to get the what these are meant to achieve.”
resources to build up the momentum you need to earn
COBRE funding
Being part of a helped me to
COBRE grant helped buy the critical
my lab expand our reagents and small
research on scar equipment that
formation and were needed for my start-up lab.
regeneration. And And the mentoring I received
interacting with other COBRE- helped me to refine my research
funded researchers has provided focus. - Sathish Srinivasan
critical feedback that’s helped
guide the direction of our
research. - Lorin Olson

Meet Kim Meade

Stewardship Coordinator, Development Office

At an early age, OMRF Stewardship Coordinator President of Development

Kim Meade was captivated by music. She loved to Penny Voss asked her to
sit at the piano and see how a variety of different take on a new role as OMRF’s

pitches, timbres, textures and rhythms could make first stewardship coordinator

something beautiful out of what might look like in 2015.

chaos to the untrained eye. The position entails

But that doesn’t mean it came easily to her. In fact, coordinating the research and

she says she took a very “OMRF-like” approach to information management

tickling the ivories. “I had to treat it like a science,” side of OMRF’s fundraising

Kim says, citing the repetition, dedication and long efforts. “Kim is a perfect

hours needed to master a classical piece or knock fit,” says Penny. “She has a

out her favorite Billy Joel song. keen eye for seeing through all the information and

As someone charged with sifting through tens identifying exactly what we need to do next.”

of thousands of donor records at OMRF to gauge Kim also serves as a liaison between the

giving patterns and devise strategic fundraising departments of Donor Services and Development

approaches, that kind of discipline and attention to to help maximize efficiency in donor data collection

detail serves her well. and organization.

“I am definitely a spreadsheet and data “We have a lot of extroverts in Development, and

enthusiast,” Kim says. “It might sound a little boring Kim brings a calming force to our office,” says Penny.

to some, but mining data and identifying hard-to-see “You have to balance that energy with someone who

trends that can make a real difference in your work is on-task, organized and goal-oriented. She has the

is really rewarding. Also, there’s personal skills, too, but she excels

never a shortage of new tips and at being able to reel us back in and

tricks to learn along the way.” accomplish the task at hand. She’s
been an amazing addition to our
“I adore workingAfter graduating from the
University of Oklahoma with
fundraising team.”
with our donorsa degree in political science, The move to OMRF, says

she landed a job in campaign Kim, has been a life-changing
one. “I adore working with our
and hearingfundraising. “The good news is I
met my husband, Kyle, in politics.
donors and hearing their stories
their stories andHe works at the capitol, so we still and reasons they give to OMRF.
reasons they
have a toe in the political water,” give to OMRF.” Putting personalities, faces and
she says. “But the work itself just passions to the names and data on
didn’t fulfill me.” the page have made this work very
fulfilling for me.”
So Kim took a leap into the

nonprofit world when OMRF Vice


New vendor, expanded coverage

Everybody needs a little help sometimes. That’s the legwork for you, offering a list of accredited local
why OMRF provides employees with access to a free service providers. CuraLinc can even help you find a
and confidential Employee Assistance Program or EAP, foreign language counselor or if you are the victim of
to help you overcome life’s strains, including stress, identity theft.
parenting concerns, financial counseling and more.
And it’s all confidential. If you use your free visits, additional visits may roll
over into OMRF’s medical coverage.
Beginning in January 2017, OMRF is switching
vendors for our EAP program to CuraLinc. With our More information on the CuraLinc EAP program
current vendor discontinuing EAP services, OMRF will be available on the intranet on January 1. And, of
“sought out the best possible vendor as a replacement,” course, HR can help answer any questions you might
says Benefits Manager Beth Benefield. happen to have.

“CuraLinc offers all of the same services as we “Stressful life situations can happen to anyone,”
had before but with a larger network of providers. says Beth. “Go to the experts, because they are here to
And it remains free to all OMRF employees and their help you. They can be your starting point.”
immediate family members.”
CuraLinc EAP Services
The number of free annual visits remains at six, and
a larger network of counselors includes out-of-state • Addictive Behaviors • Grief
providers. Every call into the program is answered • Anxiety • Legal & Financial Services
directly by licensed and degreed professionals, who • Anger Management • Organizational Change
are available 24/7. • Dependent Care Resources • Stress
• Depression • Substance Abuse
“In addition to counseling, CuraLinc also offers • Family & Marital Concerns • And Many Other Issues
legal help, elder care, child care and an expanded
menu of other service referrals,” says Beth. This means
that if you’re looking for a contractor, an auto repair
or even someone to trim your trees, CuraLinc can do


DEC 15 Blood Drive
DEC 23 & 26 OMRF Holidays

DEC 27-30 Cafe Closed
JAN 2 OMRF Holiday

JAN 27 Service Awards

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