This is a proposal for an NINDS Institutional Center Core grant to support neuroscience research at the University of Minnesota. The mission of the Center and its Cores is to enhance basic and translational research on the nervous system by providing state-of-the art, shared equipment facilities with technical and scientific support. The Center brings together a primary group of 11 NINDS-funded investigators using mouse models to study human neurological disease/disorders and nervous system function. The Center also gives high priority to helping new neuroscience investigators establish their research programs and NINDS-funded investigators without qualifying grants. The Center also offers its services and resources when possible to a large group of investigators, many NIH funded, whose research is focused on the nervous system. The three research Cores provide technological services, training and scientific expertise to increase productivity, promote new research directions and foster collaborations among Center investigators. The Cores were selected to provide access to widely needed, even critical, tools used in the study of mouse models. These tools are best offered in a central facility in which investigators can take advantage of standardized and optimized protocols as well as expert technical assistance. The Cores were also selected to provide access to new, powerful tools for the investigation of nervous system function/dysfunction not generally available to individual investigators. By focusing on the study and evaluation of mouse models, there is a high potential for innovative synergistic effects across the Cores. The Genetic Manipulation Core provides the generation of bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic mice and viral vectors to manipulate gene expression in vitro and in vivo. The Behavioral Phenotyping Core provides facilities and technical support for the evaluation of a spectrum of motor and cognitive behaviors as well as general neurological status in the mouse. The Imaging and Tract Tracing Core provides investigators with the tools and expertise for modern imaging (single and two-photon microscopy), tract tracing/histology, and activity-dependent optical imaging. The fourth Administrative Core with the Executive Committee is responsible for Center oversight, administers the institutional sharing plan, promotes collaborations, informs the neuroscience community, seeks new technologies and evaluates the performance of the Center. The Center and Cores will increase the impact and productivity of NINDS-funded investigators, promote new research directions and foster collaborations among Center researchers.
Many of the Center investigators are focused on understanding and treating neurological diseases and disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, the spinocerebellar ataxias and pain, conditions with devastating consequences for the patients and their families as well incurring as major health care costs. The Center has the potential to enhance our understanding of these disease processes and lead to new therapeutic approaches, thereby directly impacting the health of the nation and its citizens.
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