Geiger selected for leadership team for Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.— Jonathan D. Geiger, PhD , Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been selected to serve on the leadership team for the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network, a collaboration involving nine institutions in four states—Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas.

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network will be created by a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (UNMC), the largest grant ever in the center’s history. Funding is provided through the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program and the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Studies. It will focus on developing early career researchers into independent scientists and increasing the infrastructure and other resources needed to support clinical/translational research (CTR) around the region.

In addition to UNMC, the Nebraska institutions involved in the network include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Boys Town National Research Hospital. Other participants are the University of South Dakota, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

“The states involved in our grant are rural states, so we will put extra emphasis on projects that will benefit people in rural areas or the medically underserved,” said Matthew Rizzo, MD, principal investigator for the grant and professor and chair of the Department of Neurological Sciences at the UNMC.

“There is a strong aspect of community engagement,” said Rizzo. “There are many good ideas that need to be studied. We can’t wait to get going and recruit our first class of scholars and launch our first pilot projects.”

At the University of North Dakota, Geiger will serve as the institutional coordinator, where he will identify researchers who are early in their careers who deserve funding for their projects from the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network.

Geiger has an internationally recognized background in translational research. He has served on NIH study sections. The National Institutes of Health is the nation's medical research agency and the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. He serves on the NeuroAIDS and Other End-Organ Diseases Study Section for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review, where he helps to review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in the United States.

Geiger is principal investigator for the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant on Pathophysiological Signaling in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the UND SMHS. In April 2016, Geiger was elected president of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology at the international society’s annual meeting in Krakow, Poland. Last year, Geiger received the society’s top award, the Joseph Wybran Award, for extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the fields of neuroimmunology, drugs of abuse, and immunity to infections.

“This a great opportunity for researchers at UND and in the region,” Geiger said. “They will get mentoring support and funding to conduct critical translational and clinical research.”