The UW P30 Research Core Center Grant from NIDCD provides important infrastructure support for a large research commitment of the University of Washington to the mission areas of NIDCD. The Research Base is composed of 15 grants to 15 investigators with an annual direct cost of over $3 million. In addition, nine grants and one K-award, three R03 grants and one contract are included because they are in the mission area of NIDCD. Four Research Cores provide support for the research programs, and stimulate interactions and collaborations among investigators. Core A, the Human Subjects Recruitment Core, continues the longstanding function of recruiting and scheduling human infant subjects that meet specific criteria for studies on communication sciences and disorders. This Research Core has added services that facilitate recruitment of subjects with specific hearing impairments. Core B, the Computer Resources Core (Computer Core), provides personnel with skills needed for software development for real-time physiological and behavioral investigations of auditory processing in animals and humans. Also, a systems and network manager teaches and advises investigators on optimal computer solutions. Core C, the Imaging Core, provides personnel and equipment maintenance for programs making extensive use of modern digital microscopic imaging methods including confocal microscopy, 3-dimensional reconstructions, and quantitative analyses of cellular attributes. Core D, the Genetics Core, controls breeding and DNA screening for investigators using inbred and genetically manipulated mouse strains. Equipment is provided for rapid analyses of DNA sequences, and for phenotyping hearing and balance disorders to enhance the efficiency of studies using mouse models of communication disorders. The Research Cores are supported by an Administrative Core that oversees the operations of each Research Core, organizes group meetings, provides clerical, fiscal, and personnel support, and prepares reports to the funding agency.
Increasing the efficiency and efficacy of research on hearing, communication and balance will help, in the short term, bring new therapies to the bedside. In the long term, better understanding of the basic normal operation of the organs and systems underlying these functions, as well as the processes leading to disorders, is likely to lead to better prevention and treatment of such disorders and to improved human health.
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