Since its inception in 1998, CEH has evolved as a "Center of Excellence" in biomedical research. It has significantly contributed to the recent designation of Jackson State University (JSU) as a "high research activity" institution, according to the Carnegie classification. Its long-term objective is to provide a scientific infrastructure t support research that addresses important environmental and public health issues of concern to vulnerable and underserved communities. Hence, the overarching goal of this RCMI application is the development of a more comprehensive infrastructure to strengthen the capacity to conduct environmental health and health disparities research at JSU. Toward that end, we propose the following specific aims: (1) To strengthen the capacity to conduct environmental health and health disparities research.
This aim will be addressed by recruiting and mentoring two early stage investigators who possess academic preparation and research training in cancer biology, and molecular genetics, and a research associate to assist in the biomedical research implementation;(2) To further enhance the environment for conducting cutting-edge environmental health and health disparities research. To achieve this aim we propose to: a) re-structure our multiuser core laboratories by adding a Bioinformatics component to the Biostatistical Support Unit, and upgrading the Animal, Analytical, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Molecular Magnetic Resonance cores, b) provide access to major research instrumentation and training on the use of specialized equipment, c) implement standard operating procedures and policies, and d) monitor facilities utilization and core productivity;(3) To increase the overll research productivity of faculty. We propose to address this aim through implementation of relevant career development activities, including mentoring, scientific advising, portfolio development, granstmanship and scientific writing workshops, seminars and conferences participation, release time for biomedical research, and timely assessment of progress;(4) To foster opportunities for T1 and T2 translational research. We propose to continue to strengthen and expand CEH activities in support of intra- and inter-institutional research collaborations through formal interactions with other NIH-funded centers and programs at JSU and at other universities. We also plan to integrate CEH activities into the RTRN to increase tights with other RCMI centers, as well as other institutions of higher learning and national laboratories;(5) To increase the number of investigators conducting research in addressing environmental health and health disparities issues. We propose to develop and implement a Pilot Project Program (PPP) to provide financial support to stimulate innovative, hypothesis-driven biomedical research that will contribute to scientific advances and discoveries for the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with health disparities. Hence, the RCMI-CEH proposes to develop and implement a new plan to modernize its biomedical research infrastructure, and to establish a strong foundation for capacity building that would increase the competitiveness of JSU into mainstream environmental health and health disparities programs funded by the NIH.
By developing the biomedical research infrastructure, the RCMI Center for Environmental Health will help Jackson State University to build a critical mass and train the new generation of biomedical scientists who will make significant contributions to scientific advances in public health and accelerate the pace of scientific discoveries on chronic diseases that is proportionately affect minorities and underserved populations.
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