Georgia Research Alliance announces $15 million effort to fight sickle cell disease

02/10/2021 —Atlanta, Georgia — Georgia Dean of the House of Representatives Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), left, and Morehouse School of Medicine President and Dean Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, right, listen as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a presser at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Gov. Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey participated in a roundtable discussion at the Morehouse School of Medicine campus.(Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

caption arrowCaption
02/10/2021 —Atlanta, Georgia — Georgia Dean of the House of Representatives Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), left, and Morehouse School of Medicine President and Dean Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, right, listen as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a presser at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Gov. Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey participated in a roundtable discussion at the Morehouse School of Medicine campus.(Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

A team from some of Georgia’s leading medical research institutions will soon embark on an effort to find new treatments and therapies for sickle cell disease.

The Georgia Research Alliance, an umbrella organization that includes eight universities and medical schools, formally announced the five-year, $15 million campaign Thursday. Private funding of $7.5 million has been identified and an additional $7.6 million will come from the alliance’s state appropriations over a five-year period, according to the alliance.

The plan includes endowed chairs to participate in the research, laboratory infrastructure, and other assistance to boost research and clinical capabilities.

“Sickle cell disease impacts over 100,000 people in the U.S every year, predominantly in the African American community,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement. “The good news is researchers and clinicians here in Georgia know how to tackle some of the most challenging problems facing humankind.”

caption arrowCaption
From left to right: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Research Alliance President Susan Shows, state Rep. Calvin Smyre and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, pose for a picture. The alliance is embarking on a five-year effort to find treatments for sickle cell disease. Kemp announced the upcoming fiscal year budget will include the funds to create an endowed chair in honor of Smyre, the longest-serving member of the Georgia Legislature. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

From left to right: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Research Alliance President Susan Shows, state Rep. Calvin Smyre and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, pose for a picture. The alliance is embarking on a five-year effort to find treatments for sickle cell disease. Kemp announced the upcoming fiscal year budget will include the funds to create an endowed chair in honor of Smyre, the longest-serving member of the Georgia Legislature. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

caption arrowCaption
From left to right: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Research Alliance President Susan Shows, state Rep. Calvin Smyre and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, pose for a picture. The alliance is embarking on a five-year effort to find treatments for sickle cell disease. Kemp announced the upcoming fiscal year budget will include the funds to create an endowed chair in honor of Smyre, the longest-serving member of the Georgia Legislature. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

The alliance is a nonprofit public-private partnership that began about 30 years ago between state economic development officials and colleges and universities in Georgia that conduct medical research. Its member universities are Augusta University, Clark Atlanta University, Emory University, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Mercer University, Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Georgia.

Kemp and the alliance also announced there will be funding in the upcoming state budget to create an endowed chair that will be named for state Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, currently the longest-serving member of the Georgia General Assembly. The Calvin Smyre GRA Eminent Scholar Chair — a position with public and private funds — would provide funding for lab equipment and additional researchers, as well as resources to move discoveries from the university labs to clinics and markets.

About the Author

Editors' Picks