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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 19, 2008

Howard Hughes Medical Institute contributes $1 million to help UI flood recovery

The University of Iowa and the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine have received $1 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to help the biomedical research enterprise recover from the effects of the summer 2008 flood.

Despite escaping the floodwaters that devastated other areas of campus, the UI Carver College of Medicine, and in particular the biomedical research community, was seriously affected by the shutting down of the UI Power Plant. The plant provides steam, which is essential for air conditioning and temperature control as well as autoclave operations and hot water production.

It is critical that these heating and cooling capabilities are maintained to keep the research enterprise operational. The HHMI contribution will help pay for a number of temporary systems that will provide steam and chilled water to the Carver College of Medicine facilities on the west campus.

"We are extremely grateful to HHMI for this generous contribution," said Paul Rothman, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "The speed at which HHMI responded to our request for help speaks volumes to the Institute's commitment to sustaining and fostering biomedical research across the nation."

The HHMI does not normally contribute to disaster recovery at educational institutions. However, in announcing the contribution, Thomas R. Cech, president of HHMI, noted that the situation at the UI provided compelling reasons for HHMI to help. According to Cech, "the Carver College of Medicine is home to four HHMI investigators -- Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., Val Sheffield, M.D., Ph.D., Edwin Stone, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Welsh, M.D. -- whose research contributes directly to HHMI's mission of advancing biomedical research in the United States.

"Given the magnitude of the flood and its devastating effect on the UI campus, we needed to participate in the recovery," Cech said.

The series of events that led to the HHMI contribution was set in motion by Kevin Campbell, HHMI investigator at the UI and professor and head of molecular physiology and biophysics. Campbell alerted HHMI to the severe consequences of the flooding to the biomedical research enterprise. Officials at the Carver College of Medicine kept HHMI administrators apprised of the situation throughout the flood emergency and into the recovery period.

Subsequently the UI and Carver College of Medicine leadership sent a formal letter to HHMI outlining the temporary systems required to safeguard and maintain the research enterprise and the cost of leasing and installing them. HHMI responded rapidly with the $1 million.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, UI Health Care Media Relations, 319-335-9917,