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Governor Appoints Hurt to Research Advisory Council

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March 2009

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday reappointed Myra Hurt to a new four-year term to the State of Florida’s Biomedical Research Advisory Council (BRAC). Hurt, senior associate dean for research and graduate programs at the College of Medicine, will have a role in determining how millions in annual research grant money from the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program is allocated among university and independent scientists in the state.

Hurt originally was nominated for a seat on the 11-member council by Sen. Jim King and appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Increased competition for available federal research grants makes state funding especially significant to Florida’s future, Hurt said.

“This money is especially important to young faculty scientists in the State of Florida who are the future for research in our state,” she said.

The Florida Legislature originally designated funds from the state’s 1997 settlement with the tobacco industry to be used to support biomedical research on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure for tobacco-related diseases.

Legislation enacted in 2006, shortly after Hurt joined the council, doubled available funding to $18 million annually.

Scientists at any university or institute in Florida may apply for grant funding based on scientific merit. The advisory council is charged with developing the program’s objectives and priorities, and with recommending which research proposals should be funded.

Numerous young researchers at the College of Medicine and other departments at FSU have received financial support for their work from the King and Bankhead-Coley Programs. Examples include Yoichi Kato, Akash Gunjan, Susanne Cappendijk and Yanchang Wang from Biomedical Sciences, and Mary Gerend from Medical Humanities and Social Sciences.

Hurt, a professor in the department of biomedical sciences, said the fund will have other tangible benefits for the state.

“Growing biomedical research and the technologies that can come from that, in our state, it makes it kind of a double bonus. Not only does it fund research, but secondarily it will help grow this kind of technology and hopefully businesses in our state, which will help the economy and help all of us,” she said.