COBRE Phase III - Officially Awarded

I am pleased to inform you that we have received official notice that a Phase III NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) award to the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics (CBSD) has been funded effective August 10, 2021.  This award provides over 5.5 million dollars in total funding to the University of Montana over a 5-year funding period.

The Phase III award allocates five years of research funding to four CBSD Core Research Facilities: the Biospectroscopy Core Research Laboratory directed by Dr. Sandy Ross and managed by Dr. Zifan Wang, the Molecular Computation Core Facility directed by Dr. Bruce Bowler and managed by Dr. Dave Holley, the Integrated Structural Biology Core directed by Dr. Stephen Sprang, managed by Dr. Levi McClelland and staffed by Cindee Yates-Hansen, with small molecule X-ray diffraction services directed by Dr. Orion Berryman and managed by Dr. Dan Decato, and the Mass Spectrometry Core Facility directed by Dr. Kendal Ryter and managed by Dr. Eric Schultz.  The award also provides support for the NMR facility operated by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and managed by Dr. Dan Decato. Phase III support will also provide UM researchers access to cryo-electron microscopy facilities through a subcontract to Montana State University, Bozeman. 

The Phase III COBRE will support three to four pilot projects annually for UM faculty members to develop new lines of research that use the core research facilities supported by the CBSD phase III COBRE grant. The first set of pilot projects grants will be awarded in early September. Pilot project grant applications will be solicited during the spring semester each year of the grant.

The Phase III award continues support to the CBSD Administrative Core, directed by Heidi Boggs, with assistance from Judie Goldberg and Mara Baldwin. A primary function of the Administrative Core is to offer pre- and post-award grant service and counseling to UM investigators whose research falls within the purview of the CBSD. During phase II COBRE support, the CBSD saw strong growth in the number of grants it manages and is currently handling grants that have brought about $30 million in funding to UM researchers. Much of this growth was attributed to the funding during phase I and II COBRE support for the CBSD that allowed us to attract a cadre of talented young faculty to UM.  Recently funded grants include a timely supplement to the CBSD grant for Sars-Cov-2 surveillance sequencing to detect the prevalence of variants of concern in Montana.  The Administrative Core also supports several programmatic activities of the CBSD, including seminar sponsorships, an annual interdepartmental CBSD Research Symposium, Graduate Fellowships for intensive training in one of our core facilities, and the semi-annual Hot Water Writing Grant workshops.

I thank all of you who have contributed to the success of the Phase III application, by carrying out and publishing outstanding science, building productive core facilities, organizing vibrant CBSD activities and getting the grant out the door during the COVID-19 lockdown last spring!

We look forward to five more years of outstanding research productivity and scientific fellowship fueled by our state-of-the-art core facilities, the dedicated staff of our Administrative Core and our talented and energetic research community.


Bruce Bowler

Director, Center for Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry (Chem 310)
University of Montana
32 Campus Dr
Missoula, MT 59812
Phone: (406) 243-6114                                     
FAX:  (406) 243-4227