The Vanderbilt Conte Center for Neuroscience Research "Enduring Impact of Early-Life Serotonin Signaling" involves a complementary and interconnected series of basic science projects involving internationally recognized leaders in their respective fields at Vanderbilt, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Southern California (USC). The Administrative Core provides financial oversight for the activities of all Conte Projects and Cores, including personnel management, equipment and supply purchases, generation of progress reports, and coordination with other Vanderbilt shared resources. The Core coordinates all Conte Center meetings, workshops and symposia, and manages the Vanderbilt Conte Pilot Projects program, an institutionally funded mechanism to develop young scientists through sponsored research that target Conte-allied research areas. Data and resources of the Investigators and Cores are shared via the website http://vandvconte.orq with information for scientists and the lay public on biology, genetics and pharmacology of serotonin as it relates to mental health and illness. Two new elements extend our ongoing and successful education/outreach activities. First, we sponsor a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) that pairs students with faculty working on Conte-related projects at Vanderbilt, Case Western and USC to provide a mentored research experience. The SURE effort is greatly strengthened by Vanderbilt's well-established framework for summer undergraduate training (Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy), as well as by the excellent opportunities for recruiting students from underrepresented backgrounds at Vanderbilt, USC and CWRU. Second, we sustain and expand our public outreach program that provides educational experiences for the Nashville community, building upon ARRA-funded, adult-targeted neuroscience education exhibits at Vanderbilt's One Hundred Oaks clinical campus. Third, we support a new cadre of Elaine Sanders-Bush Fellows within Vanderbilt's highly regarded Neuroscience Training Program, launching a program tailored for graduate students interested in careers both in research and public advocacy/education. These students will also help mentor undergraduates in the SURE program, and will work as in teams with faculty and postdoctoral fellows to provide a program of core neuroscience and mental health concepts to Nashville youth. Finally, we implement a Neuroscience Cafe series whereby Vanderbilt neuroscientists, including Conte team members, provide informal discussions on brain science and health topics at local community sites.
The Administrative Core provides financial and organizational resources for the Center, allowing the Projects and Cores to function productively and efficiently. The Core also coordinates Conte Center outreach efforts to educate and raise public awareness about brain research to help erase the stigma of mental illness. The Core manages all travel of PIs, external consultants and advisors, and speakers in the annual Conte symposium. The Core organizes annual progress reports to the NIMH and oversees the Conte web site.
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