ADMINISTRATIVE COMPONENT Jeff Schall will remain the PI of this grant;his qualifications are detailed in the Personal Statement. The Core Steering Committee will remain comprised of the PI and the Module Directors (Animal - Anna Roe, Computer - Frank Tong, Gene &Protein Analysis with Histology - David Calkins &Kevin Schey, Image Processing - Vivien Casagrande &Rene Marois, Shop - Jon Kaas). Two modules have co-directors to provide appropriate expertise for the diversity of services offered. Now, what about the NEI ROI funding status of the proposed module directors? It is the case that Roe and Tong do not currently hold NEI ROI funding, but we have no doubt that these experienced, productive and well-regarded vision researchers will regain funding. Meanwhile, Marois has never held NEI funding because his work is regarded as "too cognitive". Nevertheless, at Vanderbilt he interacts daily with the NEI funded researchers, and he is an expert in fMRI methods, so the WRC interests are best served with him as Imaging module director! Decisions about the distribution of core resources and staff support are made through consensus by the Core Steering Committee in consultant with concerned WRC faculty. The degree of collegiality at Vanderbilt consistently thwarts contention. To carry out the WRC research and training missions, the service of an able Administrative Assistant is essential: All WRC investigators agree that the current Administrative Assistant, Gale Newton, is very conversant, organized and self-motivated, and they express high satisfaction with Gale's performance. This position is needed to (1) maintain up-to-date Core grant module usage records and other information for progress reports and competing renewals, (2) monitor and update allocation of funds through the VUMC Scholarship system (necessary for the Imaging and the Gene &Protein Analysis modules), (3) oversee the secure and equitable distribution of shared equipment (e.g., Minolta luminance monitors, computer projector), (4) maintain and reconcile expense ledgers, (5) serve as a liaison to other units within Vanderbilt, to other vision research centers and to NEI, (6) maintain relevant IRB and lACUC records, (7) organize and distribute the agenda for AA/RC module director and staff meetings, and (8) order supplies and equipment used by 3 or more WRC laboratories. The administrative assistant also provides services not directly related to the management of Core Grant activities;therefore, 20% of her salary is provided by the College of Arts &Science and the Center for Integrative &Cognitive Neuroscience"^. This allows her to (1) maintain records and process documents for our NEI-sponsored Vision Training Program, (2) maintain a calendar coordinated with other seminar series on campus and notify the vision research community of seminars and journal clubs, (3) arrange lodging, reimbursements, itinerary, etc. for visiting scientists and prospective trainees (during the last grant period the administrative office organized 70 seminars including 25 visiting speakers listed in the Appendix. (4) provide administrative support for The Visual System course, (5) maintain an updated electronic and campus mail list of administrators, faculty, staff and trainees with interests in vision research, (6) distribute information to WRC faculty and trainees concerning seminars and other business of the WRC and (7) price and order equipment for WRC or individual investigators. Core faculty depend on the administration service for coordinated flow of information about seminars and other vision research and training matters. The module directors use this service to an extensive degree to monitor the effective use of resources. Funds for the administrative assistant are needed because Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 prohibits using direct costs of research grants for clerical/administrative salaries, and Vanderbilt has no other source that can provide the necessary amount of administrative support for the WRC. As noted above, a clear priority system for usage is codified in the titles of faculty affiliated with the WRC. First priority goes to Investigators, faculty with funding from NEI or another agency that supports bona fide vision or eye research. Second priority is granted to Associates, faculty who are engaged actively in vision or eye research as assessed by regular publications. Among this group, higher priority is given to faculty who are actively competing for NEI or other funding to support vision and eye research. Affiliates are faculty who are integral to the larger vision research community but who never use any of the modules. Only Investigators and Associates are included in this application. When vision and eye research is not compromised. Core services are also provided to non-vision researchers who are part of the local research community to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and encourage new vision research. The goal of this priority system is to leverage Core resources maximally to facilitate funded research and promote unfunded research for investigators to (re)gain NEI funding. When competing requests for services arise, the Module Director and involved investigators meet to negotiate an effective task-swapping schedule. Any disagreements that cannot be resolved between a Module Director and participating investigators are brought before the Director or the Steering Committee as a whole for resolution. Through the last grant period no scheduling conflicts rose to this level. The culture of collegiality and communication we enjoy has ensured equitable access to all module services and efficient anticipation, recognition and solution of problems as they arise. On a daily basis, the Core modules operate relatively independently through the experience and dedication Of the staff. The in vitro imaging, gene analysis and protein analysis services are each accessed through a Scholarship System implemented by the VUMC Office of Research designed to comply with federal policy and ensure that support to a given core service appropriately and directly translates into benefits for WRC investigators. Instead of a discount or co-pay, participating faculty receive "scholarship vouchers" that are redeemed to access particular core services. These vouchers are issued to WRC investigators by the PI and module directors according to historical patterns of usage and proposals for new research endeavors. The sum total of scholarship vouchers cannot exceed the sum of actual direct salary support to staff in each service. The scholarship mechanism requires accurate tracking of the vouchers every month to ensure that the necessary pool of credit for each service is provided for WRC researchers but also that excessive investment is not underutilized This tracking is accomplished by the WRC Administrative Assistant using a web-based system {Core Facilities Usage and Invoicing System, CORES) managed by the VUMC Office of Research to verify that the total pool of credit represents actual direct support of each core service.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1)
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
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