Boise State University has an emerging record of excellence in matrix biology research and application to many of the most challenging health concerns facing our nation. Historically, the base for the research effort has been from individual laboratories in distinct departments. In recent years, ad hoc collaborations have developed between independent researchers, in an interdisciplinary manner, significantly expanding the research skill set and vision applied to health. To date, we have been limited by the lack of a centralized mechanism to leverage new collaborations efficiently into new research discoveries. To capitalize on the broad, diverse research base, we propose to create the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Matrix Biology. Boise State's biomedical research base has over 50 members who have generated over $155M in research support in the past decade. The primary goals of the COBRE in Matrix Biology are 1) to support junior investigators, 2) to enhance the productivity of established scientists, 3) to facilitate collaboration between both junior and established researchers, and 4) to build biomedical research infrastructure. Programmatic emphases are to support the analysis of animal models relevant to cell-matrix interactions in disease progression and tissue repair/regeneration and to provide access to instrumentation and technical support. Three Cores are proposed: an Administrative Core, a Biomedical Research Vivarium Core, and a Biomolecular Research Core. Our research efforts will be directed toward an understanding of extracellular matrix at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels to directly impact our understanding of the pathophysiology of cancer metastasis, cardiovascular calcification, liver fibrosis, and ligament injury to name a few. The Administrative Core will sponsor career development of junior investigators, facilitate new collaborations between established investigators, sponsor activities to promote exchange of information, ideas and reagents, and engage non-members doing meritorious research within the thematic focus of matrix biology. A Pilot Project program will provide funding to young investigators and to established investigators who propose applying their expertise to matrix biology.
Successful establishment of the COBRE in Matrix Biology will significantly enhance the environment and capabilities of researchers at Boise State University, leading to new approaches to address disease diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. New multidisciplinary collaborations are anticipated with investigators who may not have previously considered extracellular matrix function in their biomedical research programs.
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