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UNE receives $10.8 million grant to establish center to research how cells communicate

The University of New England's Biddeford campus.
The University of New England's Biddeford campus.

The University of New England has been awarded a $10.8 million federal grant to study cell signaling.

Pharmacology professor and associate provost for research Karen Houseknecht says it's a growing area of research that studies how cells communicate. She says defects in communication can lead to certain diseases.

"If you look at chronic diseases such as diabetes, we've known for awhile that insulin signaling is disrupted with diabetes," she says. "But we haven't really understood the nuances of that and how that might lead, for example, to the development of dementia."

The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will help UNE establish a center dedicated to cell signal research. Houseknecht says it's the second time UNE has been awarded this type of NIH grant, which is targeted to rural states for help building research infrastructure.