Did You Know Alaska's Biomedical Research is Headquartered at UA?

Did you know that for the past two decades, a collaboration within the UA system has been improving health, reducing illness and disability, and building a pipeline of future biomedical and behavioral health researchers in Alaska? 

Biomedical research
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Eric Bortz teaches natural sciences student Emmanuel Tobey how to run sequencing tests on COVID-19 samples from around the state in UAA's ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building. Bortz' students are performing INBRE-funded undergraduate research working to identify COVID-19 variants in Alaska.

Alaska INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) joins UAF, UAA, and UAS with two Alaska Native health providers, Southcentral Foundation and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, to grow the state’s biomedical research infrastructure, attract world-class researchers, support research unique to Alaska’s people, and increase and diversify the students seeking careers in biomedical research in Alaska.

Since it was established in 2006, INBRE has invested nearly $80 million in research infrastructure and projects in Alaska, and has positioned the UA system as a leader in Arctic biomedical research.


Biomedical research is at the core of modern healthcare. Biomedical researchers study pathogens, diagnose illnesses and test the effectiveness of potential cures. Yet prior to INBRE, funding for biomedical research in Alaska lagged behind most states. The INBRE program, a Congressional mandate funded by the National Institutes of Health, addresses the profound geographic and cultural disparities in Alaska’s biomedical research capacity. Alaska is one of 26 states to have an INBRE program, and the only one to partner with tribal health organizations.

Perhaps the most widely known research project supported by INBRE is seen on Alaska’s Covid-19 Dashboard.

Alaska COVID dashboard


Since the outbreak of the pandemic, INBRE-funded  researchers have sequenced the SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in Alaska to determine transmissibility and infection rates for appropriate public health responses.

Also unique to Alaska INBRE is its One Health research theme, which recognizes interconnections among the health of people, animals, and the environment to sustain healthy individuals, families, and communities during a time of rapid change in the northernmost state.

  • INBRE funds undergraduate and graduate student mentoring and research projects across the system. Students gain valuable experience in designing, conducting and reporting biomedical research, and train in scientific method, scientific writing, and preparation of theses, manuscripts, reports, and presentations. 

  • INBRE also provides direct research funding for faculty and health professionals working within its network of the UA system and partner Tribal health organizations.  

  • INBRE provides core support for resources necessary for research to happen - such as research facilities, equipment, and data acquisition and analysis, including the Genomics Core of UAF’s Institute of Arctic Biology and the ASET chemistry core at UAA.  Because of INBRE investment, the UA system can offer unprecedented learning environments and experiences for students interested in entering the field. 

In this video, students and faculty talk about the impact INBRE has had on their education and work. Learn more about INBRE success stories here