Oregon Research Institute receives federal stimulus awards

The Oregon Research Institute is a Eugene based research facility located just across from the University of Oregon.

They sent out this news release about research dollars coming to Eugene.

Scientists at Eugene's Oregon Research Institute (ORI) are bringing some of the president's economic stimulus money to Eugene/Springfield. To date, ORI has received four American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant awards, for a total of $4.4 million. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding a variety of two-year studies designed to have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health, while creating and/or retaining jobs in the community. The projects, many of which include subcontracts to area agencies, are expected to retain at least 10 ORI employees, and to provide jobs for more than a dozen people locally and across the country.

"This is great news" said ORI Executive Director Cynthia R. Guinn. "NIH is using the president's stimulus package to accelerate scientific discovery and lead more quickly to solutions to today's critical public health problems. We're very pleased to house these research projects in Eugene."

The grants are aimed at having an immediate impact on some of society's more pressing problems. The ARRA grants are:

Scientist Julie Rusby, Ph.D., received a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop and evaluate a tool to measure adolescents' moods during non-school and free time with friends. Using cell phone technology, middle school youth record their thoughts, feelings, and activities when prompted. This research will help prevention efforts by better defining when and how to intervene with at-risk youth to prevent initiation and escalation of substance use.

· A grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will expand on current research with Oregon schools and parents to identify and prevent problem behaviors in young children. Principal Investigator Tony Biglan, Ph.D. and his staff will assess the impact of an anti-tobacco program on teen social relationships. They will also examine whether the program affects social relations (specifically social exclusion) in schools and the degree to which social status is associated with youth tobacco use and related problems. Thirty Oregon high schools will be recruited to participate.

· Biglan also received an ARRA grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to work with leaders in 50 high-poverty neighborhoods across the nation to design preventive programs tailored to each area's specific needs. Researchers within the Promise Neighborhood Consortium (PNC) will assist the communities in translating existing knowledge into effective programs to prevent substance abuse, antisocial behavior, depression, and academic failure. The study will employ research staff in Oregon as well as in communities across the United States.

· ORI senior scientist Judy Andrews, Ph.D., received funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to include genetic analysis in current research. For the past ten years Andrews and her team have studied the same group of local children to investigate the risk and protective factors associated with the development of substance use (including tobacco). Now in their late teens and early twenties, a subset of the 1,075 young adults will participate in the new study to help scientists identify genetic biomarkers linked to stress and nicotine dependence.

ORI, the largest independent behavioral research center in Oregon, ranks third in Oregon as a recipient of NIH funds, after Oregon Health & Science University and the University of Oregon. The institute employs 250 people in Eugene/Springfield and has an annual budget of $20 million. Founded in 1960, ORI has offices in Eugene, Portland, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Learn more about their projects here.