The long-term goal of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) is to develop a multidisciplinary translational research center focusing on discovering cartilage and joint health and disease mechanisms and developing repair strategy. During the Phase I of COBRE, great progress has been made in mentoring junior investigators into leaders of R01 grant funded research programs. The main objective of the Phase II COBRE is to sustain the success by recruiting more promising junior investigators into the COBRE research programs thereby further expanding and enhancing the base of skeletal research in Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University. The new research projects encompass clinical, biological, and engineering research fields. Project 1 analyzes how mechanical loading affects long bone growth during skeletal development. Project 2 examine how joint cartilage degenerates in adult joint diseases. Project 3 develops novel strategies of harvesting stem cells from fat tissues to repair bone. The investigators and mentors are selected from three departments in Rhode Island Hospital/The Alpert Medical School of Brown University (Orthopaedics, Medicine, and Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology). The junior investigators include a biologist, a bioengineer, and a clinician/scientist. The mentors also include biologists, engineers, and clinician/scientists. Eachmentor is a Principal Investigator of multiple federal grants including NIH R01. They will supervise junior investigator's research projects, serve as their role models, and mentor them to obtain federal research project grants. Our vision is, by sustaining and developing this research infrastructure, we will enable clinicians working side-by-side with basic research scientists, junior investigators with senior investigators, and biologists with bioengineers. This multidisciplinary approach is absolutely necessary to develop translational strategies for prevention and treatment of skeletal joint diseases.

Public Health Relevance

Cartilage and joint diseases, a research focus of our COBRE, are a leading cause of disability nationally, affecting an estimated 46.4 million U.S. citizens -more than one in every five adults aged 18 or older. The alarming figures of cartilage and joint diseases are compounded by the enormous costs we bear for arthritis treatment, its complications and the resulting disability. The prevalence of the join disease rates illustrates the significance for research, treatment, and prevention of these debilitating diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-RI-B (01))
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Liu, Yanping
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Rhode Island Hospital
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