Howard University Awarded $11.5 Million From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative To Expand Genomics And Genetics Research Capacity

Howard University Awarded $11.5 Million From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative To Expand Genomics And Genetics Research Capacity

WASHINGTON – Today, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced a partnership with Howard University and the nation’s three other historically Black medical colleges to further support cutting-edge scientific research to address significant gaps in genomics. CZI’s Accelerate Precision Health (APH) program will award $11.5 million to Howard University over five years, allowing the University to expand research in the genome field, bring on renowned faculty, fund post-doctoral fellows, and support grant writing for future initiatives.

The $11.5 million award represents the latest stride toward fulfilling a key research goal outlined in the Howard Forward strategic plan –– to leverage Howard’s genetic research to attract and mobilize resources to tackle global challenges, especially as they relate to Black populations. Black communities have been historically underrepresented in clinical trials and genetics research and today are still often excluded from medical studies. Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite Black Americans suffering a higher mortality rate than whites, many studies excluded Black participants.

“To me, genetics research is more than just an academic pursuit,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “As someone with sickle cell anemia, the study of genetics is not abstract. When I was born, people with sickle cell disease were told that they would not live beyond childhood. Today, a child born with sickle cell disease has somewhere around a 99% chance of living to adulthood. Those advances didn’t happen by accident: Howard researchers have participated in every clinical trial that has led to FDA-approved medications for sickle cell disease treatment. This grant from CZI will allow us to continue to break new ground in genetics and genomics research for generations to come.”

“I am incredibly excited for this new venture with CZI to expand Howard’s important work in the fields of genomics and genetics,” said Bruce Jones, Ph.D., Vice President for Research at Howard University. “Research partnerships at Howard expand our understanding of issues impacting the Black community, from genetics and genomics and other STEM fields, to groundbreaking research in literature, the arts, law and other social science fields, leading to advancements in policy, medicine, and culture that benefit all communities.”

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