(Provided by the Applicant): Albany State University (ASU) is submitting a renewal of its RIM! project "Biotechnology Research Infrastructure at Albany State University". Over the past five years, limited research capacity and very few refereed publications in the sciences have given way to seven devoted research labs, most in the biotechnology area, 6 refereed papers per year. Over 50 undergraduate students have been trained in biotechnology research. Currently, the Department of Natural Sciences has five full time faculty (28%) actively involved in research and publications. This is an outstanding start. We are at the tipping point of reaching a critical mass of researchers;of firmly establishing a research culture. With continued support, we hope to break 50% participating in research efforts. While we are making inroads to basic research, horizontal communication is lacking. We propose to channel our biotechnology focus to address minority health disparities such that most, if not all, researchers in the department have a common goal. This will fundamentally shift the research culture at Albany State, increasing collaboration among peers and creating a sustainable research platform. The project encourages novice faculty to participate in health disparities related research through release time support, development workshops. Health Disparities seminar series, professional meeting support, technical skill training workshops, proposal writing and refereed publication, workshops, research mentor support, community connection support, and instrumentation training support. External collaborators with health disparities expertise will play a major role to reshape the research focus. Perhaps most importantly, we seek to implement undergraduate enrichment programs which will provide students the skills, training, experience, tutoring, mentoring and opportunities, across the board, so that they may appreciate and can address minority health disparities through their careers and research.
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