University declines NIH expansion grant
for Bingham research
For now, the University has decided to maintain and operate
the Bingham Facility at its current size instead of expanding the western
Orange County research facility. The higher-than-anticipated cost of necessary
infrastructure upgrades drove the decision.
William Roper, dean of the School of Medicine and principal
investigator, notified the National Institutes of Health last week that the
University would relinquish the $14.5 million federal grant awarded in April
that would have funded the construction of two new buildings to house
additional animals for research on
“The cost to the institution to support this construction is
beyond our capability at this time,” Roper said in a letter to the NIH. “I
believe the most responsible course of action
is to decline the award.”
It will take some time for University administrators to
determine future plans for the research facility, Robert Lowman, associate vice
chancellor for research, said in an e-mail to people who live near the Bingham
“We are committed to making the appropriate upgrades to the
wastewater treatment system that will comply with the N.C. Department of
Environment and Natural Resources’ permit requirements for protecting public
health and the environment,” he said.
The University will communicate any decisions with neighbors
and meet with them when future plans for the facility are determined, Lowman
“Until those plans are complete, the University will
continue to maintain and operate the Bingham Facility at its present size,” he
The Bingham Facility, which focuses on the genetic diseases
hemophilia and muscular dystrophy, has been in operation since the 1970s.
The 30,000-square-foot expansion would have consolidated
research operations in one central facility.
In addition to the dog colonies already housed there,
Bingham would have become the new home of the Frances Owen Blood Research
Laboratory and its colonies of dogs and swine and another colony of dogs used
to study muscular dystrophy.