The COBRE in Vascular Biology was established in 2000 with the goal of understanding the mechanisms of vascular remodeling and disease. In the past two funding periods of COBRE support, we have built a successful center of collaborative, independent cardiovascular biology researchers. Integral to our scientific progress was the establishment of institutional core facilities in areas critical to support success of our research program. The core facilities described in this application have developed into widely used institutional and regional resources that have increased scientific collaboration, the quality and impact of our research, and thus the competitiveness of our investigators. This Phase III COBRE application for transitional support aims to further enhance four existing core facilities towards self-sustainability, while additionally providing pilot project support to foster collaborative research using state-of-the-art strategies. The successes of this COBRE in Phases I-II included the assembly of a highly collaborative team of investigators focused on inter-related themes in vascular biology, achievement of independent extramural funding for each investigator, development of a mentoring program with input from both internal and external advisors, and the development of significant research infrastructure to support the goals of all research programs at Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRl).
The specific aims of this application are: 1) to maintain mentorship and training of all Center investigators, trainees, and staff, 2) to promote a collegial, intellectually stimulating environment that fosters scientific excellence, 3) to maintain the Center at the cutting edge of vascular research through infrastructure improvements, advanced training, and financial sustainability, and 4) to stimulate collaborations and enhance grant funding opportunities through a pilot project program.
These aims will continue to advance this program towards national prominence by maintaining state-of-the art research technologies and expertise, and toward self-sufficiency through collaborative multi-investigator and program grants. Our biomedical research programs also contribute to the NIH mission to improve the nation's health, with our focus on understanding mechanisms of disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. A better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of vascular cell growth and differentiation will lead to better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to combat vascular diseases. The multidisciplinary approaches taken by this group of investigators will be advanced by the core facility support proposed in this application.
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