Sen. Jim Inhofe’s office announced on Monday a $1.9 million congressional funding request for a biomedical data sciences center at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
The new Center for Biomedical Data Sciences will open later this year and will afford OMRF new computing and data analysis abilities and support for scientists studying conditions like cancer, lupus, stroke and heart disease.
“OMRF has been involved in groundbreaking research for the past 75 years,” Inhofe said in a statement. “Since its founding, OMRF’s scientists’ discoveries have yielded hundreds of medical advancements used to improve — and even save — the lives of Oklahomans and individuals worldwide. We want to keep this research going — and to expand it. I am happy to support dedicated funding to help OMRF establish Oklahoma’s first Center for Biomedical Data Sciences.”
Inhofe’s request could be granted by the end of the year. If it is granted, the funding could get to OMRF by the first quarter of 2022, said Luke Holland, Inhofe’s chief of staff.
The requested congressional funds would cover about 40% of what OMRF would need for the new center in its first five years, said Adam Cohen, interim president of OMRF. The foundation already is raising private funds for the rest, Cohen said.
Cohen said additional power to process the huge amount of data generated in biomedical research is the No. 1 request from scientists across OMRF’s five research programs.
“It’s become a huge bottleneck in science,” he said. “We’re able to generate huge amounts of data, but we’re not actually able to process it, so it’s a profound need.”