The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) proposes to enhance basic and translational research on pathologies prevalent in the Hispanic-majority population along the United States border with Mexico. Specifically, UTEP seeks to increase the productivity and capacity of its Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC) to promote new discoveries and apply them to benefit health and education in this region and the nation as a whole. To accomplish this, the institution has assigned priority for research in (1) infectious diseases and immunology, (2) toxicology, and (3) neuroscience and metabolic disorders, major research thrusts of the BBRC. The BBRC's research team has been expanded with faculty acquisitions in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, and the College of Health Sciences. Commitments of support have been obtained from external research centers, such as the national laboratories at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. A new Biosciences research facility has been built on campus, and houses BBRC Core labs in Cell Culture and High Throughput Screening, DNA Analysis, Analytical Cytology, Biomolecule Anlaysis, Bioinformatics and Statistical Consulting. These Core resources are being used to attract additional talent that will contribute to the biomedical research program. The developing scientific competitiveness of BBRC investigators is evident in the increased number of R-01 grants funded, from 0 to 6, in the last three years alone. The BBRC provides a strong research infrastructure for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral training. Thus, through this key RCMI-supported program, UTEP is realizing an institutional goal of serving as a major point of entry for underrepresented minorities into the biomedical research mainstream of the nation. As partial evidence of progress in this area, UTEP has increased its Ph.D. graduates in biology from 0 to 14 in this past RCMI funding cycle. Through significant RCMI support and a strong institutional commitment to the BBRC, and through the productivity and collaborations of this Center, UTEP is establising itself as a leading regional research entity and is gaining national and international recognition for its biomedical research and training resources and capabilities.
The overall goal of the RCMI-Border Biomedical Research Center is to promote and enable quality biomedical research on the pathologies of major health problems prevalent on the U.S.-Mexican border and provide opportunities for Hispanics and other underrepresented minorities entry into the biomedical research mainstream of the nation.
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