After Two Decades, U of I’s INBRE Program Has Attracted $170M For Student Research
Marisa Lloyd

After Two Decades, U of I’s INBRE Program Has Attracted $170M For Student Research

University of Idaho

MOSCOW — Over the past two decades, more than $170 million has been generated for biomedical research in Idaho’s state and private colleges and universities thanks to a network administered by the University of Idaho called INBRE.

Recipients of the grants — scientists, doctors, and students from Idaho — will converge in Moscow July 26-29 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of INBRE (The IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) and share their research. The conference will also celebrate the fulfillment of its goal to provide research opportunities to Idaho undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students.

The grants that INBRE receives, and which multiply as research opportunities grow, are competitive and difficult to secure, said Carolyn Hovde Bohach who administers INBRE at U of I.

“We provide every interested and capable Idaho student and faculty the opportunity to pursue biomedical research or education,” she said.

The investment has made miners into medical doctors and associates degree-seeking nursing assistants into Ph.D.s.

Tom Croschere, who grew up in Kingston and graduated from Kellogg High, worked as a miner in the Silver Valley before attending North Idaho College where he joined the INBRE network to practice medicine. Croschere eventually earned a double major in psychology and nutrition from U of I and became a medical doctor.

“My participation in INBRE helped me integrate various class disciplines, which developed my skills as a scientist,” Croschere said.

Ingrid Fruth was a North Idaho College nursing student with a hidden desire to do biomedical research. An INBRE grant helped her earn an internship at Kootenai Health, where she set her sights on becoming a researcher. After earning an associate degree from NIC, Fruth earned a bachelor’s in microbiology from U of I. As a U of I INBRE Fellow, Fruth earned a Ph.D. in microbiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry with an emphasis on the cell biology of pathogenesis.

“INBRE supported every pivotal point in my journey,” said Fruth, who became a NIC instructor.

The network serves as a pipeline for students to continue health research careers with partners, including the Boise VA Medical Center and Kootenai Health and private sector medical companies. 

Over the past two decades, the program has supported the careers of 4,000 undergraduates, 411 graduate students, 40 post-doctorates, and 435 faculty.

During the same period, U of I has been awarded INBRE National Institute of Health funding totaling $65 million. Since 2009, INBRE has invested $13.4 million of this money in seed grants that generated 450 new awards equal to $170 million for additional research in Idaho.

“It’s all about supporting and improving human health — improving the human condition,” Bohach said.

 

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