Published December 18, 2013
Actively seeking and successfully obtaining a creative mix of funding, Matthew J. Barth, MD, research assistant professor of pediatrics, is pursuing promising research aimed at helping children with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma overcome resistance to treatment.
Given the unpredictable and highly competitive nature of government funding for biomedical research, Barth is among a growing number of young investigators relying mainly on private and institutional support.
The hematologist-oncologist has amassed more than $800,000 in private funds.
His grants include $330,000 from the California-based St. Baldrick’s Foundation for a three-year project testing targeted inhibitors to thwart alterations in lymphoma cells. Barth and his team have identified altered pathways in these cells that contribute to therapy resistance.
In addition, he was awarded two University at Buffalo research fellowships in 2011: a $240,000 Henry C. and Bertha H. Buswell Research Fellowship and the Thomas F. Frawley, MD, Residency Research Fellowship.
Barth extends his targeted approach to his quest for funding, focusing on private sources that support career development or young investigators dedicated to pediatric oncology research.
He draws from numerous information sources to locate possible funding.
Both UB and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Barth conducts his research, help keep young investigators updated on funding opportunities, he says.
Barth also collaborates with colleagues at other institutions who share common research interests as well as information on funding opportunities.
“We are a small group of investigators who have formed a consortium focused on investigating novel, targeted ways to treat B-cell lymphoma,” he says.
Securing a diverse mix of funding can be critical to research success, especially for researchers just starting out.
“Private funds are particularly useful in establishing a principal investigator’s early career,” notes Elizabeth Smith, UB assistant vice president for administration and planning in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
“It’s prudent portfolio management,” she says, citing the strain on federally funded research due to fiscal challenges.
As he anticipates applying for his first National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, Barth’s prior success will likely work to his advantage.
“Knowing how competitive NIH applications are at this time, and how small a percentage are being funded, I wanted to make sure I had a really solid application,” he says.