Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross Announces More Than $2.6M for Scientific Research in South Jersey

Sep 5, 2019
News Release

CHERRY HILL, NJ – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) announced that South Jersey universities will receive a combined $2,626,453 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for STEM research that will help us combat the opioid epidemic, find cures for diseases, train our future workforce and strengthen our local economies.

“Innovative research projects are the only way we are going to improve treatments, discover new ideas and ensure South Jerseyans and Americans are ready for the challenges of tomorrow,” said Congressman Norcross, a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor. “The work going on at our area’s top-notch institutions will reshape the fields of science and medicine. I look forward to seeing how these grants will be put to good use fostering the next generation of thinkers and innovators.”

“Rowan University is committed to engaging in practical research that solves real-world problems and improves the lives of others,” said Ali A. Houshmand, Rowan University President. “We’re proud that we’ve seen a 190-percent increase in our research funding in just the last four years. These grants totaling more than $1.6 million will fund research that will address the health and safety of our citizenry. It’s vitally important work.”

“Research innovation happens every day at Rutgers University–Camden, where our faculty and students generate original thinking and new ideas that advance our state and our nation,” said Phoebe A. Haddon, Chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden. “These grants from the National Science Foundation will allow our students and faculty to advance cutting-edge work in technology and scientific research, two areas that are critical to our growth here in South Jersey. We thank and applaud Congressman Norcross for his commitment to growing South Jersey as a hub for innovation and for his support of Rutgers–Camden.”

Rowan University to receive:

  • $500,000 to the School of Osteopathic Medicine from HHS for research on substance use disorders, HIV, hepatitis C and primary care services for marginalized populations.
  • $345,853 to the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University from HHS for research into the process of cell death and immune-related disorders.
  • $300,000 to the College of Science and Mathematics from NSF for biomolecular research.
  • $299,993 to the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering from NSF for innovative training for engineering students.
  • $250,000 to the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering from NSF for research and development into safer and cheaper eye treatments for patients suffering from cornea tears.

Rutgers University–Camden to receive:

  • $600,000 to the College of Arts and Sciences from NSF for research on evolution between species.
  • $330,607 to the College of Arts and Sciences from NSF for a comprehensive study into computer science data collection.

“This grant will put New Jersey, especially Southern New Jersey, in the forefront in fighting the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Richard Jermyn, the program director at Rowan Medicine’s NeuroMusculoskeletal Institute.  “The grant will provide comprehensive services for substance use disorder (addiction), HIV, hepatitis C and primary care to vulnerable and extremely marginalized citizens of New Jersey.”

“This new grant from the National Institutes of Health will be used to study how some proteins can cause inherited immune diseases,” said Darren Boehning, PhD, head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, adding that the grant is the first year of a four-year, $1.3 million grant. “We have found that fatty acids are required for the proper function of proteins inside immune cells. This grant will be used to examine how this process works at the molecular level and how it might be exploited to find new treatments for immune-related disorders. We are extremely excited to have this opportunity to investigate a new area of immune biology and to potentially help patients with these devastating diseases. My team looks forward to working with our collaborators in Texas, Rowan University and the greater South Jersey biomedical research community. Together, we have the opportunity to greatly improve patient care through scientific discovery.”

“This grant will help design new ionic liquid biomaterials for protein applications in biotechnology,” said Timothy Vaden, a Rowan Chemistry and Biochemistry Associate Professor. “Proteins are most effective in water at room temperature, but bioengineering applications often call for totally different environments. Ionic liquids are liquid salt compounds that can be used to improve the effectiveness of proteins in engineering applications in organic solvents at high temperatures. This grant will combine experiments in biochemistry and chemistry labs with computer simulations to look for ways to design ionic liquids that stabilize proteins. The project should result in new biomaterials that chemists and engineers can use for new protein applications.”

“This grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to develop a learning framework that monitors and assesses the student learning process in real time in order to better understand students’ learning differences,” said Gina Tang, a Rowan Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor. “We will bring traditional learning content into an engaging and fun gaming system that can track students’ progress, detect their difficulties and provide individualized feedback to assist students in more effective and efficient learning. This project is expected to establish a first-of-its kind technology that integrates the theory of social cognitive learning with sensor informatics and machine learning for smart and personalized learning.”

“Of the 2.4 million eye injuries yearly in the United States, 600,000 are open globe corneal tears. Of those, 50,000 cases lead to blindness. Worldwide, there are 18 million such cases,” said Iman Noshadi, PhD, a Rowan Chemical Engineering Professor. “This Partnerships for Innovation-Technology Translation (PFI-TT) project will provide generous funding for the development of a new biocompatible, antimicrobial and transparent adhesive for corneal repair and grafting. Current standards of care for globe corneal tears include suturing and cyanoacrylate glue. Our product will circumvent the limitations of current surgical approaches and postoperative cost and care, significantly reducing the costs of extended secondary treatment associated with current standards of care.  The adhesive will rapidly integrate corneal cells to facilitate sealing the corneal wound and will reduce the chances of secondary infection, hospitalization and medication costs.”

“Rutgers University–Camden is known internationally for our excellence in the sciences, and these two grants from the National Science Foundation prove once again that we earn that reputation every day,” said Howard Marchitello, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers–Camden. “On a per-capita basis, our researchers attract federal funding at an impressive level, and their work is defining the next generation of ideas for our economy. They also incorporate Rutgers–Camden students as part of their research initiatives to provide incredible learning experiences that are hard to find at other institutions.”

The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science and to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare of our country. The organization supports research, innovation and discovery that provides the foundation for economic growth in this country.

HHS is federal agency created to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. Their mission is to provide effective health and human services and foster advances in medicine, public health and social services.


Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director