The proposed Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (ME-INBRE) in comparative functional genomics is led by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and is composed of two research institutions, one graduate degree granting institution, seven undergraduate institutions and one community college. ME-INBRE, with the expertise, strengths, and research resources of its research institutions, and the strong commitment of all its institutions to building research capacity in Maine, is uniquely positioned to exploit the power of comparative functional genomics to discover important information about the genetic properties and function of genes of diverse species, and to use this topic as the scientific focus for institutional development, research training, and career development. ME-INBRE is having an unprecedented impact in our state by creating a new baseline of excellence in biomedical research and training, which already has enhanced the career development of investigators, substantially increased undergraduate student interest and accomplishments in science and health-related careers, and enhanced research infrastructure. Furthermore, we have created a stable and effective organizational structure capable of growing with ME-INBRE in the next grant period. The proposed INBRE builds on this structure to 1) increase the number of ME-INBRE undergraduate institutions from four to seven and include one college from Maine's community college system established n 2003, 2) establish eight new investigator research projects, 3) expand support for graduate students from The University of Maine's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences established in 2006, 4) extend outreach to undergraduate students in northern Maine, 5) create a new outreach program for high school students, and 6) significantly expand state, regional, and national collaborations.
Research and training in comparative functional genomics will lead to a better understanding of mechanisms that control expression of genes that have significant roles in physiology, pharmacology, development, regeneration, and disease resistance and treatment. Maine INBRE will be a pipeline for students and faculty to pursue health research careers, and will enhance institutional development and scientific knowledge.
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