Birmingham’s Southern Research gets $3.9 million in grants

Read Time 2 Minutes

Southern Research just got $3.9 million in grants for neurological research. Photo courtesy of Southern Research
Southern Research just got $3.9 million in grants for neurological research. Photo courtesy of Southern Research

A local research nonprofit just got almost $4M in research grants. The funds will go to critical research in Parkinson’s and ALS. Keep reading for more about Southern Research’s important work.

What is Southern Research?

Birmingham, Alabama, Rebecca Boohaker, Southern Research, drug discovery
Southern Research does critical work. Photo via Southern Research

Southern Research is a Birmingham nonprofit that works to improve public health worldwide. Founded in 1941, the non-profit research group works in the life sciences, engineering, energy and environment.

Southern Research has already developed seven drugs fighting the war on cancer. In addition, they helped create the course of treatment for HIV. This grant is the latest recognition of Southern Research’s groundbreaking work.

Grants making a difference

The grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke are going to a neuroscience lab in Birmingham. $3.3 million are allocated to Southern Research’s Parkinson’s research, while $594,000 are for research related to frontotemporal dementia. This form of dementia is similar to ALS.

Dr. Rita Cowell directs the neuroscience lab that received the grants. Go women in STEM!! Photo courtesy pf Southern Research
Dr. Rita Cowell directs the neuroscience lab that received the grants. Go women in STEM!! Photo courtesy pf Southern Research

Both grants go toward a lab led by Rita Cowell, Ph.D. She’s the chair of the Department of Neuroscience in Southern Research’s Drug Discovery Division.

Cowell’s lab has worked for 15 years to study why brain cells die. Dead brain cells are a major cause of neurological diseases, which can cause an ongoing and often devastating decline in a person’s physical and mental abilities.

“If we can understand why these cells die, then we may be able to find drugs to interfere with that and stop the progression of these diseases,” she said.

Birmingham, Alabama, Rebecca Boohaker, Southern Research, drug discovery
Southern Research got almost $4 million for groundbreaking work. Photo via Southern Research

For Parkinson’s, the lab received a five-year grant to research a molecule that may keep brain cells alive. Furthermore, the length and amount of the federal grant reflects the strong findings of Southern Research’s previous work with the cell-saving molecule. In addition, the second grant will support two years of additional exploratory research about how neurons stop functioning in frontotemporal dementia and ALS.

“These grants are a reflection of the excellence and dedication of our neuroscience team. They work every day to fight diseases that have devastated the lives of so many families. They are an asset to Southern Research and to our community.”

Josh Carpenter, president and CEO of Southern Research

Southern Research is leading the way in neurological research, and these grants will help the Birmingham non-profit discover even more life-saving treatments.

For more exciting Birmingham news, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Default image
Libby Foster
Articles: 35