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  • Research at Lifespan

    Rhode Island Hospital held a press conference announcing it's Cardiovascular Research Center has received a $7.36 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study sudden cardiac arrest.

    Lifespan’s research mission is to attract and support scientists and clinicians who work at the leading edge of their fields and who have the scientific vision to transform patient care. We encourage a culture of discovery and continuous innovation, attracting and retaining scientists, clinicians, medical students, and residents. As teachers, we also provide training for the next generation of biomedical researchers.

    In addition to improving health and saving lives through discovery and testing of new procedures and treatments, Lifespan research also contributes to our state’s economic development by:

    • Attracting national and international companies for local investment in clinical trials and basic and translational research
    • Creating start-up companies such as ProThera and Lubris, along with high-paying “knowledge economy” jobs
    • Generating intellectual property in the form of patents and licenses

    For three years in a row, our researchers have attracted more than $80 million in total external grant funding, and nearly $83 million in the most recent fiscal year. Our research activities support approximately 350 faculty who are engaged in research and 550 staff employed in our research sector. Approximately 1,500 current clinical research studies are underway, including tests of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics for people with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and brain injury.

    Our research assets include core facilities for electron microscopy, digital imaging and analysis, flow cytometry, histology, proteomics, and molecular pathology; three Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for stem cell biology, cancer research, and skeletal health repair; and a Medical Simulation Center—a 3,000-square-foot training and assessment facility that is the largest and best-equipped in the region. Recently, Lifespan also launched a new Clinical Research Center to provide additional institutional resources to support investigators who are conducting clinical research across departments and medical specialties.

    Among our research innovations, Lifespan researchers hold patents for artificial wrists; rehabilitation toys for movement disorders; a liver cancer vaccine; artificial lubricants for osteoarthritis; neuro-stimulation for pain control; medical applications for nanolasers; and new methods for the treatment of malignant brain tumors. We are also nationally recognized for our research in psychiatry, preventive medicine, and behavioral medicine, including our studies on depression, sleep disorders, weight control, and substance abuse.

    Lifespan researchers also collaborate locally with academic institutions such as Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Women & Infants Hospital, as well as Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Melbourne, and many others. All of Rhode Island’s major research hospitals and labs are located within a five-mile radius of one another and Brown University. Rhode Island research institutions share core facilities in genomics, proteomics, high-performance computing, and scientific visualization. Rhode Island’s diverse, stable population and its compact size—the state can be traversed, end to end, in under an hour—make it an ideal environment for large-scale, longitudinal research studies.