Zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases represent an increasing and very real threat to global health, and it is essential that we expand our understanding of the pathogenesis and prevention of these diseases because of the increasing density of human populations, the increased exposure to domestic animal populations, and the crowding of wildlife into limited areas with frequent livestock and human contact. To address the growing need for infectious disease research, a COBRE Center of Excellence was established at Montana State University (MSU), with the goal of positioning Montana as a national leader in research on zoonotic infectious diseases. Over the past 9 years, the Center has been extremely successful, resulting in infrastructure development (facilities and equipment), recruitment and support of junior investigators (7 COBRE Projects, 6 new hires, and 20 Pilot Projects), and formation of a coiiesive Center of investigators. The synergism of these components has resulted in the establishment of a solid foundation for infectious disease research in the region. Importantly, these efforts have fostered faculty career development and have created a pipeline of new researchers with interest and expertise in infectious disease pathogenesis. The primary objectives in COBRE III will be to continue to expand the capabilities and use of the Animal Models Core, and position it for long-term sustainability.
Four specific Aims will be pursued to address these objectives:
Specific Aim 1 : To provide and maintain state-of-the-art facilities for research involving animal models in support of COBRE-funded Pilot Grants, as well as all other Center and MSU research programs, including access to the Animal Resources Center (ARC), small animal BSL-2 and BSL-3 facilities, and a large animal ABSL-2 facility;
Specific Aim 2 : To provide instruction, mentoring, and expertise that encourages, guides, and fosters advanced strategic use of animal models by Center investigators and other biomedical researchers at MSU;
Specific Aim 3 : To expand, improve, and encourage use of advanced small animal models or relevant large animal models for biomedical research to help investigators select more appropriate or more advanced models and by improving strategies for colony maintenance, husbandry, genetic analyses, and production;
and Specific Aim 4 : To use ongoing assessment to guide further improvement and evolution of the Animal Models Core to better meet users' needs and to help ensure sustainability beyond COBRE III. One of the linchpins for an active, vibrant research environment is interdisciplinary collaboration. Therefore, in evolving toward sustainability, the COBRE III Animal Models Core will offer its services to all interested animal users at MSU, thus building the interactions and collaborations that will lead to long-term research vitality.
The Animal Models Core provides the infrastructure and organizational support necessary for effective efficient use of animals in biomedical research. Animal models are of central importance to research on zoonotic and emerging diseases, and the Animal Models Core will facilitate accomplishment of the goals of COBRE Phase III, thus leading to a sustainable Centerof Biomedical Research Excellence.
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