August 19, 2016

Today marks the final day of the North Dakota Legislature’s Interim Higher Education Committee two-day meeting at UND. The UND SMHS was proud to host the event, especially since almost a dozen of us (along with Dave Molmen, the CEO of Altru Health System and chair of the School’s Advisory Council) met with the Committee (as I outlined in last week’s E-News). You can find the slide deck that accompanied the various UND SMHS presentations here.

The Committee devoted an hour of Thursday morning’s agenda to a report on the School’s research enterprise. So why would the Interim Higher Education Committee ask about our research effort? Isn’t its focus on our educational mission? Yes, of course the focus was educational. The bulk of the morning’s agenda dealt primarily with a discussion of our primary mission in education and healthcare workforce preparation. But the School is also tasked by the Legislature with the “discovery of knowledge that benefits the people of this state and enhances the quality of their lives” as specified in the state’s Century Code (Section 15-52-01), the codified laws of North Dakota.

So how does one assess the growth and success of a research program? Clearly, the ultimate arbiter is how discoveries in the laboratory positively affect people. But the time lag between the two often is long, and the effect difficult to quantify. So one surrogate measure that typically is used around the country to evaluate research productivity is to calculate how many research dollars flow into a given institution, since research grants typically are competitive and being awarded a grant means that a group of scientist judges thought that your grant was better than the other submitted grants. Thus, so-called sponsored funding is probably the most commonly used measure of research productivity around, for better or worse.

Slide No. 63 from the presentation summarizes the School’s sponsored (research) funding over the past two decades.

This slide shows in green the total research funding (sponsored funding) awarded to the School since 1996 (the curve is a three-year rolling average to smooth the ups and downs of the raw data). The two red circles show two periods of substantial growth in funding: one from about 1999 through 2004, and the other from 2009 until the present. What is interesting is the superimposed funding in purple that shows the relative amount of total appropriations the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received over the same period (NIH funding has been divided by 1,000 so it fits on the slide). Since over 80 percent of the sponsored funding that the School receives comes from federal sources (especially the NIH), a comparison with NIH appropriations over the years is quite appropriate. Note that the growth of UND SMHS funding in the earlier period (left circle) closely mirrors and follows the growth in available NIH funding, indicating that the School competed effectively as new federal dollars became available. But what is perhaps even more interesting is what has been happening recently, when NIH funding has been essentially flat (at least up until this year). Note that despite the relative flatness of the NIH curve, UND SMHS funding has increased. In fact, since 2009 it has increased nearly 50 percent, or about 7 percent per year. And this is during a time when competition for funding has become more intense, at least in part because of flat funding and more researchers looking for funding. After all, the size of medical school classes nationwide has increased by almost a third in the past decade, and presumably the faculty ranks have grown commensurately. Thus, we’ve done exceedingly well in a period of intensified competition. So congratulations are in order for the School’s researchers, not just for competing exceedingly well for federal dollars, but more importantly, for working hard every day to fulfill our mission to discover “knowledge that benefits the people of this state and enhances the quality of their lives.”

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences


Recent Educational Policies to Review

Standards of Capacity (for medical students)

View all of the School's Policies and Procedures.

[ Back To Top ]

Robin Besse

     Research Analyst

Robin Besse began employment as a research analyst in the Center for Rural Health on August 15. Her supervisor is Mandi Peterson.

Conner Corbett

     Rural Health Policy Specialist

Conner Corbett began employment as a rural health policy specialist in the Center for Rural Health on August 15. His supervisor is Naomi Lelm.

Ardith Marsette

     Program Coordinator/Student Services Officer

Ardith Marsette began employment as a program coordinator/student services officer in INMED on August 8. Her supervisor is Eugene DeLorme.

Mihir Shetty

     Laboratory Technician

Mihir Shetty began employment as a laboratory technician in the Department of Biomedical Sciences on August 16. His supervisor is Lucia Carvelli.

[ Back To Top ]

Social Media—Dr. Timothy Henry named as a Sioux Award winner

On our Facebook page, Dr. Timothy Henry, BS Med '82, has been named a Sioux Award winner. He will receive his award at UND Homecoming in October.

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about stress tests and about cellulitis in his latest Health Matters column, which can be found in the Grand Forks Herald every other Monday. Please submit any general health-related questions to

You can also get the latest SMHS news by following the School on Twitter

University Letter—Borboa-Peterson named director of Multicultural Programs and Services

Stacey Borboa-Peterson has been named director of Multicultural Programs & Services at the University of North Dakota. She has been serving as the interim in this position since February 2016 after former director Malika Carter left UND. Borboa-Peterson officially began as director on Aug. 16.

More information about this and other UND news can be found in the University Letter. Published on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is distributed electronically to the University community and is always available online. For more information, contact editor Jan Orvik at (701) 777-3621.

"Strategies to Prevent Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome"—CDC Grand Rounds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Public Health Grand Rounds is a monthly webcast created to foster discussion on major public health issues. Each session focuses on key challenges related to a specific health topic, and explores the latest scientific evidence and the potential effect of different interventions. The Grand Rounds sessions also highlight how the CDC and its partners are already addressing these challenges and discuss the recommendations for future research and practice. August's presentation is "Primary Prevention and Public Health Strategies to Prevent Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

[ Back To Top ]

USDA GF Human Nutrition Research Center seeks study participants

The United States Department of Agriculture Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center is seeking participants for two research studies.

  • Fish for HEALTH! 
    Are you interested in cardiovascular health? Would you like to eat more fish? The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center is seeking men and women, ages 20–70, to determine whether eating rainbow trout with different omega-3 levels reduces heart disease risk markers. Receive up to $500 for completing the study.
  • Acute Effects of Fats on Satiety & Energy Needs
    Women on contraception: are you satisfied when the you eat? The USDA is looking for female participants, ages 18–50, to join our study to assess how dietary fat affects energy metabolism and feelings of fullness after eating. Receive up to $530, or a 13-month individual membership, or a 9-month family membership at Choice Health & Fitness, to be paid at the conclusion of the study.

For more information, and to see if you qualify, check out our website, or contact Vanessa Thyne, Biological Laboratory Technician, Dietary Prevention of Disease Research Unit, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, (701) 795-8493.

Flow Cytometry publication support

The ND Flow Cytometry Cell Sorting Core Facility (ND-FCCS) was developed to support the research efforts of all faculty in North Dakota. The ND-FCCS is supported through the coordinated efforts of the North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (ND INBRE): Health and the Environment, the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Host-Pathogen Interactions, and the dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. This support has allowed the facility to remain free-of-charge and staffed with full-time technical assistance for all researchers. The only charge to investigators is the need to provide supply items specific to their research. In order for the facility to remain “charge-free,” it is imperative that the two IDeA programs are acknowledged for their support on scholarly products that utilized the ND-FCCS. This information is required by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on both noncompetitive and competitive renewals of the programs.

The following language should be used:

“The research reported in this [publication, release] was supported by Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103442 and P20GM113123.”

The ND INBRE will provide $1,000 toward publication costs of manuscripts that acknowledge both the above IDEA programs between July 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017. The ND INBRE will also provide $1,000 toward publication costs of any manuscripts that have acknowledged ND INBRE support from January 1, 2016, to June 30, 2016.

Don Sens, PhD, Principal Investigator, ND INBRE
David Bradley, PhD, Principal Investigator, COBRE Host-Pathogen Interactions; and Director, ND-FCCS

UND Neuroscience COBRE Pilot Grant Program for high-risk, high-reward projects

In this the final year of our neuroscience COBRE grant that has been funded continuously over the past 15 years, we are inviting investigators from the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences to submit neuroscience proposals for high-risk, high-reward science or commercialization projects. The goal of this year’s pilot grant program is for people to, for example, buy or develop new reagents, obtain or create new animal models, and/or conduct risky experiments that would be hard to fund otherwise.

For science-based projects, this is an opportunity for investigators to generate some truly exciting new data capable of convincing study section reviewers to recommend the funding of new grant submissions.

For commercialization-based projects, this is an opportunity for investigators to become first-time inventors, to develop intellectual property, to make invention disclosures based on research findings, to file patent applications, to establish R&D partnerships with industry partners based on disclosed technologies, to develop prototypes, to license patent rights for commercialization of products, and/or to attract additional funding sources to enhance the scope of the work.

As mandated by the NIH-funded COBRE grant program, the proposals must be reviewed and evaluated by the neuroscience COBRE grant’s External Advisory Board members.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The project’s focus in the area of neuroscience
  • The high quality of work as related to the stated objectives
  • The appropriateness of the budget to accomplish objectives

Eligibility: Pilot grants may be submitted either by a single PI or by co-PIs. Co-PI projects must clearly state the shared nature of responsibilities among the co-PIs. The PIs must have full-time faculty appointments in the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Availability of Funds: No more than $200K is available in the current grant year (2016–2017) to support this program. A maximum of $40K will be awarded to any one project. All awarded funds must be spent by Friday, May 19, 2017. A detailed budget must be included. The pilot grant funding mechanism will not support faculty salaries or F&A. Equipment purchases will not be allowed.

Use PHS398 forms and instructions.

The following components must not exceed two pages total (excluding the face page, budget and budget justification, resources format page, biosketches, as well as IRB and IACUC approvals).

a. Project Summary
b. Research Plan

Budget Summary and Budget Justification:
Provide a detailed budget with justification for the project. Requests for investigator salary are not allowed.

Submit NIH’s new style biosketches for the PI(s) and any key personnel.

IRB and IACUC Approval:
Provide documentation of IRB and/or IACUC approval (if applicable).

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2016. Send one original paper copy and a combined PDF document to Dr. Jonathan Geiger, Department of Biomedical Sciences, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 504 Hamline Street, Room 110, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203,

Each investigator will be notified in writing by the COBRE PI as to the outcome of the application review. We plan to have decisions made within two weeks of the proposal submission deadline.

Progress reports are required by 4:30 p.m. on January 27, 2017. At the end of the funding period, a final report is required.

Additional Information:
Please phone Dr. Jonathan Geiger (701) 777-2183 or contact him via e-mail at

[ Back To Top ]

Health Sciences Library closed Sunday, August 21

Because of unforeseen circumstances, the Library will be closed this Sunday, August 21. 

Regular hours will resume on Monday.

Health Sciences Library hours

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Thormodson (701) 777-4129.

[ Back To Top ]