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Presbyterian Health Foundation Grants $2 million to 35 Medical Research Projects

Oklahoma City, September 24, 2014, By Jessica Wedel

Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF) announced today that 35 scientific research grants totaling $2 million were approved by the PHF Board of Directors for funding. A total of $ 1.35 million will be awarded to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and $650,000 will be awarded to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. These grants will support scientific research and medical education, basic components of PHF’s mission.

An interdisciplinary and independent panel of research scientists reviewed, evaluated, and prioritized over 80 proposals that were considered for funding. PHF’s Scientific Advisory Committee under the direction of the Scientific Director, Dr. Jerry Vannatta, then further evaluated each proposal and made recommendations for funding.

The funded proposals aim at addressing an array of challenges in scientific research. The research topics include immunology, cancer, genetics, women’s health, pharmacology, geriatrics, macular degeneration, digestive diseases, ophthalmology, and periodontics, among others. PHF’s Scientific Advisory Committee determined that the subjects were particularly relevant and important.

“We are fortunate to see such outstanding applications from local research scientists,” said Dr. Jerry Vannatta. “The research supported by PHF provides hope to our future generations of patients for medical therapies that will treat some of our greatest health challenges.”

The $2 million in grants included four categories: seed funding, bridge funding, specialized equipment, and education grants. Seed grants made up $531,428 of the awarded funds and will provide start-up money for scientists to develop skills to become competitive for larger grants supporting further important research. Bridge grants totaled $995,000 and will provide funding to enhance project competitiveness for national funding. Over $423,000 was awarded in specialized equipment grants to purchase multi-user and multi-institutional equipment. Education grants of $50,000 were approved to provide funding for educational conferences and events involving nationally and internationally recognized scientists.

“As biomedical research grants become exceedingly difficult to receive from the National Institute of Health and other organizations, it is exciting for Presbyterian Health Foundation to be at the forefront and begin filling the gap,” said Tom R. Gray, III, President of PHF. “These grants will increase the research dollars going to experienced and emerging scientists at the Oklahoma Health Center. PHF grants will allow researchers to continue their important work and support them as they pursue medical discoveries and future funding opportunities.”

Since 1985, PHF has awarded grants totaling more than $116 million. Following the 2013 sale of the PHF Research Park, the PHF Trustees determined that the Foundation would focus its efforts on supporting scientific research and medical education at the Oklahoma Health Center campus.

“Presbyterian Health Foundation has assumed a vital role in promoting and supporting scientific, biomedical, and technology research,” said Carl Edwards, PHF Board Chair. “Through these grants, PHF will facilitate the ability of research scientists to propose, develop, or continue research projects across a broad range of biomedical and scientific research areas that have the potential to lead to major scientific discoveries and breakthroughs.”

In addition to grants awarded to more established investigators, PHF also awarded funding for new scientists. These awards are intended to encourage and facilitate promising young scientists to pursue important research projects.

“These grants represent another example of Presbyterian Health Foundation’s unprecedented investment in biomedical research,” said Mr. Gray. “The funding will help to foster an environment in our state where scientists can pursue innovative research – work that is already promising new therapies for debilitating diseases.”

For more information about Presbyterian Health Foundation, contact Grants Administrator Jessica Wedel at (405) 319-8172 or jwedel@localhost.

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Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF) is an Oklahoma City based nonprofit private foundation that provides grants for medical education and research. Since 1985, PHF has awarded over $116 million dollars to biotechnology and medical research organizations in Oklahoma with an emphasis on the Oklahoma Health Center campus.

For more information on PHF, please call (405) 319-8172 or visit

Contact Information

Jessica Wedel – (405) 319-1872 – jwedel@localhost


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