The National Institutes of Health awarded Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation $7.03 million toward three floors of its new research tower.
The funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be used to build out lab, clinic and mechanical space for OMRF clinical investigators studying autoimmune diseases. Tower construction began in 2009 and is expected to finish by January 2011.
The grant will pay for 8,200 square feet of clinical space for patient evaluation, enrollment, testing and care and 16,600 square feet of laboratory space for associated research. The lab and clinical areas can support 10 current scientists and their research teams, and the labs will open research space for six new investigators and their research assistants.
The funds will also enable OMRF's Clinical Immunology Research Program to build out a 3,400-square-foot cryostorage facility. The facility, which can reach temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius, will hold and protect large collections of biological samples gathered from patients and control groups.
When complete, the research tower will add 186,000 square feet of laboratory, clinical and administrative space to OMRF's Oklahoma City campus. With 34 new laboratories, the expansion will allow OMRF to add 300 employees to its staff.
With this construction grant, OMRF has now received more than $22 million in stimulus funding through the National Institutes of Health. All of the grants were awarded following a nationwide competition open to universities and medical research institutes throughout the U.S.