A Medical Device Daily

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) reported that it has established a grant program to award life science researchers more than $400,000 in RNA-interference (RNAi) reagents used to study genes in medical research and drug discovery.

The Thermo Scientific Discovery Grant Program will include various siRNA, shRNA and microRNA reagents from the industry-leading Dharmacon and Open Biosystems RNAi technology portfolios, marketed under the Thermo Scientific brand. Five projects will be selected based on their potential to advance science and medicine. Recent breakthroughs involving Thermo Scientific RNAi technologies include a study to find human genes associated with West Nile virus infection, the discovery of potential new targets for HIV drugs and identification of genes that appear to affect the susceptibility of human cancer cells to certain chemotherapy treatments.

The Thermo Scientific RNAi Discovery Grant Program is open to both academic and commercial researchers, who may complete a simple application online at www.thermo.com/RNAiDiscovery.

Grant applications will be reviewed by a panel of scientists at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and recipients will be selected based on the merit of their projects, their screening capabilities and, most importantly, potential scientific impact. Applications for the grants will be accepted through September 7, 2009.

In other grants news, 39 organizations throughout California received Wellness and Prevention Initiative Grants from the St. Joseph Health System Foundation (SJHS; Orange California) totaling more than $2.2 million to help champion initiatives that promote the health and overall well-being of the economically challenged residents and communities in need. The awarded grants support proactive programs and community collaborations that focus on improving the quality of life in the communities surrounding nine SJHS hospitals in California.

This year's grants represent the largest total dollar amount awarded to date by SJHS for the Wellness and Prevention Initiative. These grants each range from $12,000 to $115,000 and focus on programs that address childhood obesity, chronic disease management, nutrition, mental health, youth development, job training and homelessness. Awardees are administered by local nonprofit organizations or SJHS hospitals.