The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) is a Hispanic- Serving Institution located at the southernmost tip of Texas, in one of the most economically underprivileged and rapidly growing regions in the nation. A primary objective of UTB/TSC is to advance and foster faculty development in biomedical research activities that address health disparities in this region's unique socio-economical setting. The gap between regional health needs and services provided in South Texas can be bridged through investigation of agents and causes of disease that afflict regional inhabitants. The development of biomedical research programs is the critical instrument that will contribute to this objective. UTB/TSC has made significant progress in the development of three program areas including infectious disease, neuroscience, and cancer. The recent success and momentum of UTB/TSC's biomedical research program was accomplished through 1) external collaborations, 2) recruitment of faculty and administrators, 3) acquisition of multimillion dollar extramural support, and 4) establishment of the first Hispanic Health Research Center in the nation. This progress indicates that UTB/TSC is positioned to become an important center for biomedical research activity in the near future. However, it will be virtually impossible to maintain this momentum if adequate research facilities are not available to house UTB/TSC biomedical researchers. The continuing development and success of the existing research programs requires appropriate laboratories and animal facilities.
The specific aim of this proposal is to build a dedicated biomedical research facility that will provide urgently needed infrastructure for biomedical research faculty at UTB/TSC.