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Larger State Grant For Spinal Cord Researchers

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COLUMBIA – The Missouri House approved a bill that will give spinal cord researchers more money to conduct research.

This fund was initially set up to give spinal cord researchers $50,000 for grants.

“When you’re dealing with a spinal cord injury, especially with clinical research, $50,000 wasn’t enough to attract folks that were interested in the grant so $250,000 will,” Senator Bill Stouffer, 21st District, said.

On Tuesday, Missouri lawmakers approved the bill that would increase the maximum size of grants for spinal cord research from $50,000 to $250,000.

The University of Missouri curators award the grants to people who conduct spinal cord research.

The fund already has approximately $4.5 million in it and in the past the spinal cord injury research program was funded through a $2 court fee charged on every criminal or infraction case.

“Originally I think lawmakers were looking at DWIs and that began the fund,” Stouffer said.

Then it went to funding the research program with $2 for court cases and now due to the increase in the money for the grants, this now makes University of Missouri one of the leading centers for spinal cord research.

One of the MU researchers said that this substantial increase means a lot for those who conduct spinal cord injury research.

“It will allow us to do a lot more research on spinal cord injury and hopefully find some therapeutic interventions that can relieve some of the problems that individuals have with spinal cord injuries,” MU Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Andrew McClellon said.

Another researcher said that this would help out the research department in general.

“$250,000 would help tremendously in terms of research cost,” MU Biological Sciences professor Samuel Waters said. “It would also provide the opportunity for us to bring more students into the lab and support our students to do the research.”

McClellon said that this grant would also support a longer period of research.

For the community, Waters said this increase in grant money means informing more of the residents of spinal cord injury and diseases that may affect them in the future.

Reported by: Rachel Moten

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