The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) vision science research program is supported by one of the longest-running core grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI). The overarching goal of Core Grant is to foster, strengthen and expand vision-related research at UIC and neighboring institutions. A major strength of the Core Grant is that it facilitates interdisciplinary, inter-departmental, and inter-university collaborations among UIC Vision Science Research Community (VSRC). Current VSRC members include 24 NIH-funded investigators who have primary or secondary appointments in the UIC Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, as well as 4 NEI-funded investigators from neighboring Chicago area medical schools. Of the 28 NIH funded VSRC investigators, 19 have NEI-funded grants (of which 14 are qualifying R01 or K grants, held by 13 Key Personnel). In this renewal submission the Modular organization of the Core Grant has been retained. Modules are directed by NEI-funded investigators who, together with experienced technical staff, provide services that cannot be supported otherwise by individual research grants. The four Core Grant modules are: (i) Imaging and Image Analysis Module, (ii) Cellular and Molecular Biology Module, (iii) Instrument Shop Module, and (iv) Animal Services Module. These modules will provide well-equipped facilities and technical expertise in the following areas: digital image acquisition and processing;image analysis;cellular biology;histology;molecular biology;biochemistry;design, production and maintenance of bioinstrumentation;and animal services. Together, the facilities of the four modules occupy 3,640 sq. ft. and are readily accessible to vision scientists at UIC and neighboring institutions. Fostering an environment conducive to resource-sharing, exchange of ideas and collaboration, the Core Grant will fulfill the common needs of VSRC researchers for cutting-edge bioinstrumentation and technical expertise and promote innovative, interdisciplinary and translational research programs.
The Core Grant for Vision Research will benefit investigators in their quest to elucidate the basic mechanisms that underlie the normal and abnormal functioning of the eye and visual system which may lead to new treatments for blinding eye diseases. The support of this grant will make state-of-the-art core facilities available to our diverse group of researchers fostering an integration of multidisciplinary approaches and the cross-fertilization between basic science and clinical disciplines necessary for translational vision research.
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