The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics has announced $2.5 million in infrastructure funding for four research teams.

The Minnesota Partnership is a state-funded research effort intended to offer scientists from both Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota funding for research that neither institution could do on its own.

Research teams submit proposals that marry expertise and/or resources from the two institutions, allowing projects to go forward.

The new funding "must be used for equipment, software or other technology essential to specific research projects and must be mutually available to the project participants at both institutions," according to a Partnership announcement.

Heart disease, cancer, drug development and the human microbiome — or microorganisms of the gut, for example, will be "key focus areas of research."

The awards include:

• Dr. Samuel Asirvatham at Mayo Clinic and Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota— $831,950.

The award funds equipment and facilities in a "core center to research and advance clinical use of electroporation by a large number of physicians at both institutions."

Electroporation, according to the Partnership, uses energy to "disrupt cell membranes, ultimately to kill cells that are either dead or damaged or subject to tumors, without causing damage to adjoining tissues or organs."

• Dr. Heidi Nelson at Mayo Clinic and Kenny Beckman, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota — $344,105 for infrastructure "so researchers from both institutions can advance their study of the human microbiome, the microbes that coexist in the body, performing functions ranging from digestion to defense against infection."

• Kristin Zhao, Ph.D. at Mayo Clinic and Paula Ludewig, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota — $988,315 for a shared fluoroscopic imaging system to speed and make research more accurate into "how best to diagnose and treat movement abnormalities and conduct joint replacements."

• Dr. James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D. at Mayo Clinic; and Edgar Arriaga, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota — $411,168 to "purchase software and training, and develop a broad-user base for the recently obtained mass cytometer at the University of Minnesota."

The mass cytometer "allows for rapid analysis of individual cells at various stages of development, including determining the cellular response to drug treatments." Dozens of scientists at both Mayo and the University of Minnesota will be trained to maximize use of the technology.

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