LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The University of Louisville is on the front lines of battling diseases that harm family members and take lives -- and now a new federal grant will help in the fight.

An $11.2 million federal grant will better arm the University for disease research. It was awarded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The money will go toward investigating what links bacteria and viruses with inflammation and disease.

Much of the research will happen in the labs of the U of L School of Dentistry. It could ultimately help people struggling with rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers, and even neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and autism.

"That's where this money comes in really handy, and almost all of it goes into answering some really key questions," said Dr. Juhi Bagaitkar of the U of L School of Dentistry.

"I am confident that the group of scientists that we have gathered together will certainly uncover new knowledge," added Dr. T. Gerard Bradley of the U of L School of Dentistry.

The grant also establishes a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, pairing scientists with junior faculty in the schools of dentistry, medicine and engineering.

The grant will be used over the next five years.

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