- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska at Omaha has won a $10.1 million grant - the largest research award the school has ever received - to establish a center for biomechanics research.

The Center for Research in Human Movement Variability will build on the work of university researchers in developing new treatments for people recovering from movement-affecting disorders.

Researchers will study how bodies control and adjust movement and how those things can be linked to a number of disorders. The grant-funded research will focus on autism, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The grant from the National Institutes for Health will help the university hire more professors and start new projects. The center will be housed inside the university’s $6 million biomechanics research building that opened last year.

One of those researchers who will be hired through the grant is Anastasia Kyvelidou, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1AjNwo7 ). She will study body movement and how it relates to autism. She wants to identify body cues that could help detect autism earlier.

Chancellor John Christensen said the award is “one of the biggest things that’s happened on this campus in my memory. It sends a message about the quality of work that takes place on this campus. The biggest award the university previously received for research was $4.9 million.

The new grant will be distributed over five years, with two opportunities to renew for matching funds. Total potential funding would be more than $30 million.

“Now, we are in the same league with other research institutions of this state,” said Nicholas Stergiou, director of the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility. “Everyone can look UNO in the eye now, in my opinion.”