The COBRE Phase I support has allowed the Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR) to emerge as a recognized center of excellence in the study of reproductive biology. The IBR supports faculty research on various aspects of human reproduction and problems related to reproductive biology. The IBR's success is in large part due to the scientific expertise of our faculty and the cohesion of the research interests, in conjunction with our expertise in reproductive biology. Our growing international recognition is evidenced by assessments given by visiting professors, the selection of our junior investigators to NIH panels, a long list of publications, and that have been grants scored as well as awarded. Four of the five junior investigators who were supported in the first four years of COBRE support have developed their research to the point that they can serve as mentors or collaborators for the Project Leaders who will be supported in the proposed Phase II IBR COBRE. In this application, we seek to strengthen and transform the IBR into a multi-disciplinary reproductive biology research center that will become independent enough to be sustained on extramural grant support for its future development. We will focus on expanding our research focus and expertise during the next five years of Phase II COBRE funding, while the Phase I IBR Project Leaders become more mature members of the institute. The Center faculty in Phase I had a cohesive set of experimental and scientific expertise that focused on fertilization and early development and included a wide range of micromanipulation and cell biology techniques. In Phase II, we will significantly expand our scientific and technical expertise to include next generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatic analysis of NGS data. We feel that this is an important expansion for our Center, and we have already demonstrated a proficiency in obtaining NGS data and incorporating it into current research projects. Three of our newly recruited Project Leaders are familiar with obtaining NGS data, and the fourth is a bioinformaticist who has experience in analyzing large genomic databases. We seek to develop the Center into a more robust, self-supporting institute with a wide breadth of scientific expertis that can more effectively compete for center grant funding. We propose to accomplish these goals through the following Specific Aims: (SA1) Expand the multi-disciplinary research capacity of the IBR through the mentoring of four new investigators. (SA2) Strengthen the center through continued development of IBR faculty, and the recruitment of a senior investigator to the center. (SA3) Enhance the research infrastructure of both the IBR and the institution through the expansion of the Transgenic Mouse, ICSI and IVF (TMII) Core.
This grant will be used to support a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence that focuses on understanding reproductive biology. Human reproduction is facing increasing challenges both from overpopulation in some areas and a decline in fertility in more developed nations.
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