This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. Primary support for the subproject and the subproject's principal investigator may have been provided by other sources, including other NIH sources. The Total Cost listed for the subproject likely represents the estimated amount of Center infrastructure utilized by the subproject, not direct funding provided by the NCRR grant to the subproject or subproject staff. Centralized Research and Instrumentation Core: The BioMolecular Sciences Network (BMSN). The BMSN embodies the integration of the principal BioMolecular Sciences Resources (BMSRs) in Puerto Rico as part of the research and career development objectives of the Puerto Rico Alliance for the Advancement of Biomedical Research Excellence (PRAABRE). Our overall goal in the BMSN is to work in a concerted fashion, by providing mentorship and scientific support, leading to the empowering of PRAABRE-supported investigators and students from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) in the Island. We envision that fostering a concerted, integrated, and collaborative environment in Puerto Rico catalyzed by the BMSN will i) contribute to the expansion of scientific competence among researchers and students at PUIs and ii) help create productive partnerships between these investigators (including their mentors and collaborators) and those directing active research endeavors and instrumentation facilities (the Core Facility Coordinators) within the two main PRAABRE mentoring institutions in the Island: the Rio Piedras and Medical Sciences Campuses of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR-RP and UPR-MSC), respectively. These goals will be achieved by the integration of researchers in the two major areas of the BMSN: genomics and proteomics. The integration of resources and scientific expertise available at the BMSN will empower researchers and augment their scientific competence, resulting in a better use of BMSRs and enhanced competitiveness. In addition, the proposed activities will result in more active networking among existing instrumentation facilities and BMSN scientists, thus impacting the collaborative, consulting, training, and service capabilities for all members of PRAABRE.
Specific Aim 1 : Integration of existing Instrumentation Facilities. Six facilities dedicated to genomics and proteomics research, including new technology development constitute the BMSN. The specialized areas represented by the BMSN are Functional Genomics, Genomics and Genotyping, Human and Clinical Genetics, Proteomics, and Protein X-Ray Crystallography. The BMSN Director, Dr. Sandra Pena de Ortiz, together with the Genomics and Proteomics Area Leaders (Drs. Tomas Hrbek and Irving Vega, respectively), will oversee the integration and collaboration activities proposed to provide scientific exchange and expertise among Core Facility Coordinators and PRAABRE-supported investigators, at the same time maximizing the use and development of BMSRs in Puerto Rico.
Specific Aim 2 : Competence Enhancement: Empowering PUI's investigators, students and research staff in the fields represented and developed at the BMSN. The utilization of the technology available will be maximized when researchers are capacitated to understand how these instruments and technologies may impact their research. The Core Facility Coordinators will continue to develop productive collaborations between the academia and industry by offering and developing new Thematic Workshops to train investigators, students and research staff at PUI's and industry in Puerto Rico. The workshops will consist of theoretical and hands-on experiences. The development and execution of this specific aim will not only contribute to the increased usage of instrumentation facilities within the BMSN, but more importantly, empower researchers in Puerto Rico, especially those at PUIs to implement new biomolecular approaches and resources to their research projects with the goal of enhancing competitiveness, productivity, and scientific impact.
Specific Aim 3 : Provide scientific support to the PRAABRE supported investigators at PUIs and to the overall scientific network in the Island. The development of new investigators mainly at PUIs is one of the objectives of the PRAABRE program. The BMSN will foster the scientific development of investigators funded through this program by providing mentorship, guidance and scientific support. The projects that are part of the PRAABRE Research Core will benefit from the technology and expertise available at the BMSN. The Core Facility Coordinators will encourage one-on-one meetings for experiment planning, validation strategies and manuscript preparation. This support will enhance the productivity and, consequently, competitiveness of PUIs investigators.
This aim will run concurrently with the above mentioned Competence Enhancement component. In general, the BMSN will foster the development of research projects and directly impact the research careers of investigator at PUIs and other academic institutions in Puerto Rico.
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