X.A.I. Overall Objectives/Specific Aims The overall goal of the Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core (IHSFC) is to facilitate both patient-oriented and population-based research within the UTMBCET. The IHFSC will promote the mission of the UTMB-CET by enhancing the capabilities of our members to integrate these approaches into their studies of important problems in environmental health. The scope of this integrative process will, 1) augment established Center member research programs with clinical and/or translational components strengthening, the multidisciplinary activities of the Collaborative Research Teams (CRTs) described in the Strategic Vision section (Section I); 2) enhance the scope and relevance of the Pilot Project Program;and 3) foster the development of community-based research projects. The infrastructure of the IHSFC that supports this process consists of five interdigitating internal modules (Facilities, described below), leveraged by expertise and capital equipment in the other Facility Cores in the UTMB-CET and UTMB's CTSA. The IHSFC is a new Core. Hence, the key to maximizing the impact of the IHSFC will be in its integration with both our outstanding cadre of established environmental Center scientists?including those involved in the innovative CRTs?and new faculty who will be enticed to bring their scientific skills to the environmental sciences at UTMB. Our close relationship to the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC, described in Section XI) will facilitate public health research, including epidemiologic and community initiated studies. The types of resources that Center members and Pilot Project Program recipients can derive from the IHSFC include: 1) Translational project study design and early steps of implementing these studies (Translational Research Facility, TRF), 2) Design of community-based research and assistance in identifying community partners with access to exposed and control populations who have a demonstrated interest in participating in research (Community-Based Research Facility, CBRF), 3) Access to a centralized facility for assessing environmental exposures to small-molecule pollutants and identifying biomarkers for these exposures and their biological consequences (Environmental Assessment and Biomarker Development Facility, EABDF), and 4) Research database development and biostatstical analyses (Biostatistics Facility, BSF) and Bioinformatics analyses of results (Bioinformatics Facility, BIF). The IHSFC will offer these services pro-bono or on a reduced-cost basis to UTMB-CET members and Pilot Project recipients. Examples of broadly applicable technologies include the efficient, cost-effective web-based data management systems (BIF), and analytical procedures for quantifying trace amounts of low molecular weight toxicants in biological tissues and fluids (EABDF). In addition, the IHFSC will work closely with the COEC to disseminate the results of environmental health-related research to the surrounding community.
The Specific Aims of the IHSFC are to:
Aim 1. Provide the infrastructure to assist UTMB-CET members and Pilot Project Program recipients in designing and conducting experiments and research projects that extend their environmental science programs into studies of human health and disease, by providing: ? Advice concerning the feasibility, ethics, IRB requirements and identification of clinical collaborators for translational clinical research projects ? Access to a study coordinator who is experienced in both the administrative and clinical aspects of sample procurement ? Access to a centralized biorepository for sample preparation, logging and storage in collaboration with the CTSA ? Support for biostatistical aspects of study design and analysis, including power analysis, customized data management systems to facilitate the acquisition, organization and analysis, advanced modeling of the data derived from individual clinical subjects, epidemiological surveys and community initiated projects ? Bioinformatic support for collection, analysis and interpretation of large data sets ? Analytical support for identifying and quantifying small molecule contaminants in human and experimental animal tissues and fluids to assure the relevance of exposure of biological systems to environmental agents and to identify biomarkers of these exposures and their pathologic consequences Aim 2. Provide faculty development and practical training in the areas of expertise represented in the five Facilities of the IHSFC to Center members and Pilot Project recipients. The process for achieving this aim is described in detail in this section and in the other sections referenced within.
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