This COBRE application proposes to establish a Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation (CDSI) at the University of South Carolina (USC) that will pursue multidisciplinary research on how botanicals can modulate inflammation and be used to prevent and/or treat inflammatory diseases. Recently, USC has made significant strides to promote research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) which has resulted in the award of a Program Project/Center grant to study CAM modalities to treat autoimmune diseases. Thus, the CDSI will complement the CAM program and create a unique niche at USC in inflammation research. The main goal of CDSI is to establish multi-disciplinary research that will identify the molecular mechanisms through which botanicals modulate inflammation so that they or their analogs can be used to prevent and/or treat inflammatory diseases. Americans spend~$33.9 billion/year on CAM, of which ~$20 billion is on dietary supplements. It is becoming increasingly clear that inflammation plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of not only autoimmune diseases but also a wide range of clinical disorders including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer: areas under investigation in this study. Thus, understanding the mode of action of dietary supplements or their constituents on inflammation, could lead to novel treatment modalities with far ranging clinical implications. The CDSI goal will be accomplished through promotion of multi-disciplinary research pursued by 4 junior tenure-track faculty in the area of inflammatory diseases, through highly structured mentoring by eight senior faculty members, and providing them with state-of-the-art core facilities. The program will be evaluated by an External Advisory Committee consisting of nationally recognized scientists. Additionally, through institutional support, 10 new tenure-track junior faculty will be recruited and trained at USC to bolster and advance inflammation research. The long term objective of the CDSI would be to build a self-sustaining, nationally recognized multi-disciplinary Center for dietary supplements and inflammation research, by promoting innovation, faculty entrepreneurship, collaborative research projects (PPGs and Institutional Training grants), and clinical/translational research.
Inflammation is considered to be the underlying cause of a larger number of diseases that afflict heart and brain, as well as cancer. We plan to establish a Center that will study how compounds found in dietary supplements (botanicals) can suppress inflammation so that they can be used to treat a wide range of diseases. This will be accomplished through mentoring highly accomplished junior investigators.
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