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Last Updated

20 Feb 2003

Source: The Lumberjack (AZ), February 20, 2003

NAU Anthrax lab receives $450,000 grant

Jacob Lopez

The world's No. 1 anthrax research laboratory at NAU recently was given a $450,000 grant from the United States government to help keep the lab safe, comply with new regulations and stabilize anthrax research.

The money will also allow the lab, led by NAU microbiology Professor Paul Keim, to stay on track with fighting the war on terrorism, said 1st Congressional District Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.

"The funding will allow Keim the needed technology to expand his research, which will ultimately safeguard America," Renzi said.

Keim said because NAU is suffering from a budget crisis, the grant is instrumental in keeping the Bioterrorism Research program secure.

This lab, which Keim said is the world's premier lab for DNA research, could use the nearly $500,000 allotment to help bring the lab infrastructure up to regulation code.

Keim said without it, NAU could lose the anthrax lab.

"We have to comply with the regulations or they would shut us down," Keim said. "I could end up in Los Alamos."

Renzi, who toured the Anthrax lab yesterday morning with Keim, said the grant will help Keim stabilize his anthrax research, allowing him to begin work with the Translational Genomics Research Institute. The TGen is a not-for-profit institute established to battle cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

One of the lab's main tasks is to look at various anthrax strains gathered from around the country, Keim said. He added the lab then helps link these strains to its source to help track down the illegal anthrax holders in this country and around the world.