Funds are requested to renew a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) for an additional five year period. This COBRE has a research focus on the regulation of cell development and differentiation. During the initial, 5 year term, 6 Beginning Investigators graduated from the COBRE, and all are becoming successful, independent researchers. Five new Beginning Investigators have joined the Center and our goal is to help them become independently funded investigators as well. A PI, two co-PIs, an Internal Advisory Committee (lAC), a robust group of mentoring faculty, and an External Advisory Committee (EAC) of distinguished investigators have been assembled to achieve this goal. The Center is also designed to improve the research infrastructure at KUMC. The expected outcome will be more research productivity as reflected in joint publications and grant support based on a developmental biology theme. A Mentor has been assigned to each of the new Beginning Investigator faculty recruits, and individual mentoring plans and productivity timetables have been developed. Central features of the mentoring plans include ongoing critical evaluation of research projects by Mentors, semiannual conferences, and special training on scientific writing. We expect that each of our current junior faculty members will compete successfully for R01-level support from the NIH or other national granting agency within 3 years of joining the COBRE. Once funded, they will cycle off the grant making room for new faculty, and we have firm commitments from Department Chairs/Center Directors who will provide these recruits. Another important feature is the maintenance of 3 scientific Cores to provide research support to all of the Center's faculty. Together with an Administrative and Mentoring Core A, there are Cores supporting transgenesis (Core B), molecular profiling (Core C), and high resolution imaging (Core D). The outstanding combination of exceptional scientific talent, research environment, and substantial institutional commitment, ensure that this COBRE will continue to foster the development of a thematic, multidisciplinary research effort and enhance the ability of new investigators to compete for NIH support.
The value in studying basic developmental biology has been fueled not only by insights useful for understanding congenital disease, but also an awareness that diseases of adulthood may have initiated through errors in development. This application contains research projects exploring: how cancer cells react to a hypoxic microenvironment, controls affecting mitosis, developmental origins of pelvic pain syndrome, pathogenesis of polycystic kidney disease, and mechanisms that underlie facial clefting syndromes.
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