Survivors of brain injuries such as stroke and trauma often endure life-long disabilities, which span a spectrum of deficits and which are associated with enormous individual and societal costs. There is an urgent need to develop effective interventions that can improve cognitive and motor function, as well as methods that can track individual recovery paths to begin to personalize intervention for the range of symptoms the follow brain injury. Especially critical are approaches that can be applied in the months and years after the injury, as patients are attempting to reintegrate into normal daily life. The Cente for Brain Recovery and Repair will develop an interdisciplinary community of investigators focused on addressing this issue. The Center will bring together a critical mass of investigators from different departments and programs, and provide them with centralized facilities and resources needed to work together on interventions that promote cellular repair of damaged brain, and promote recovery of function. Established investigators from within UNM, together with key external scientific consultants and leadership from community brain injury programs will provide a nucleus of intellectual and technical expertise, and contribute to the development of a cohort of the most promising junior faculty in this field. The Center will focus on moving laboratory discoveries about brain repair mechanisms into clinical application, and is therefore structured to promote extensive interaction between preclinical and clinical investigators. Key resources that are currently lacking will be established, including core facilities with cutting ede facilities for clinical and preclinical interventions and assessments. Investigators will be also b provided with access to other existing facilities and training that can improve their studies and career development. Achieving these aims is expected to lead to development of extramural funding of multiple new programs, including first R01s for junior faculty, and new collaborative awards to teams of established investigators in the Center. These will include future program grants from other NIH centers which, together with strong institutional support, will maintain growth of the Center beyond the period of the current award. Significantly enhanced research capabilities will also be available for a larger constituency of brain and behavioral health investigators in New Mexico, and investigators in other IDeA states. Such outcomes are expected to have an important positive impact, as they will greatly accelerate the discovery and adoption of interventions that are urgently needed for large numbers of individuals in IDeA communities living with the devastating consequences of brain injury.

Public Health Relevance

The Center for Brain Recovery and Repair will establish an interdisciplinary team of basic science and clinical investigators, to focus on discovery of new and effective treatments to accelerate recovery of function for stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors. These efforts will provide the basis for a long-term commitment by UNM to strive to provide interventions of benefit to the large number of New Mexicans and their families living with the consequences of debilitating brain injuries.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-TWD-0)
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Canto, Maria Teresa
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University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
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