|Life Science


Lack of sufficient research space continues to hamper UAF life sciences research programs. After growing rapidly between 2000 and 2006, research funding has been flat since 2007. Since UAF researchers secure 90 percent of all UA system research grants, and many research projects are collaborations between UAF and UAA, this single project has a great financial impact on the entire state of Alaska.

Founded in 1963, the Institute of Arctic Biology advances basic and applied knowledge of high-latitude biological systems through the integration of research, student education and service to the state of Alaska and beyond. IAB supports research and graduate education in wildlife, physiology, genetics and evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystems, biomedicine, and bioinformatics and computational biology.

UAF’s future research success will be determined by the construction of this important facility.

Life Sciences = Life Saving

UAF's research success depends on immediate funding for the Life Sciences Facility.

Alaskans are front-line recipients of assaults from environmental agents causing disease. The health impacts of global climate change stem in part from the spread of infectious agents including new and emerging diseases, mobilization of contaminants, and shifting availability and quality of subsistence foods. Alaska is subject to extreme seasonality, which can be challenging to humans and animals alike. Nowhere else is the concept of “One Health” more relevant than Alaska, where the health of people, animals and the environment are inextricably linked.

UAF life sciences research includes studies on environmental agents and diseases, with a focus on diseases of public health importance to the state, such as the avian influenza virus and diabetes.

UAF life science research includes neuroscience studies that are important to Alaskans, such as understanding and preventing sudden infant death syndrome and protecting against brain injury following heart attack or stroke.

UAF life science research includes ecological and wildlife research in areas such as understanding climate change effects on Alaska and other northern ecosystems, and the occurrence and risk of contaminants in wildlife and in subsistence foods.

Additionally, the co-location of research with the teaching component of life sciences allows for better collaboration between the two areas.

UAF life science research is real and relevant to the people and the state of Alaska.

The proposed Life Sciences Facility is the final structure of a trio of interconnected buildings on the UAF campus to house and support the university’s developing programs in life science research, specifically the study of disease-causing agents.

The Biological Research and Diagnostic (BiRD) building, completed in early 2007, provides the animal research support infrastructure to work with animal models of human disease.

The new state virology laboratory, is a key part of this effort. Connectivity to both BiRD and the new life sciences facility is integral to the new collaborative research effort between the state and the university in areas such as state health and environmental safety.

This trio of buildings is an example of what can be done when the university and the state work together. Fostering and promoting an integrated working relationship between the university’s life sciences program and the state’s public health laboratories will significantly benefit human health in Alaska.

“Life” Partners

Since 2001 IAB has shown more growth in research expenditures than any other research unit in the UA system.

Life sciences research at UAF is conducted in partnership with many local, state and national agencies, which have included the following over the years:

  • Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
  • BP Alaska
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Kenai Borough
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Park Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Science Foundation
  • North Slope Borough
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Life Sciences Research Expenditures

Since 2001 IAB has shown more growth in research expenditures than any other research unit in the UA system.

Size: 1.9M bytes Modified: 23 February 2010, 11:40

Size: 323.2K bytes Modified: 5 March 2009, 09:53

IAB Research Expenditures

Research expenditures graph
Click to view enlarged graph.

Reaching Across the State

Areas in Alaska where life science research is conducted.

AK research sites map
Click to view enlarged map.