This proposal for a cooperative agreement will establish collaborative partnerships between the UNC-Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies (UNC-ARC) and NCCU-BBRI faculty. The program administrators of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will be involved in steering the program. These partnerships were developed to perfectly fit the long-range goal of the Collaborative Minority Alcohol Research Center Development (CMARCD) Program. That is to strengthen the alcohol research capacity of minority serving institutions. These collaborations are structured to integrate research between laboratories leading to common collaborative discoveries, with the overall objective to strengthen alcohol research programs at both institutions. This proposal represents a true collaborative effort between NCCU and UNC faculty with both groups contributing significant effort and being essential to the success of this CMARCD Program to conduct research on the Mechanisms of Alcohol Pathology (MAP). The MAP-Administrative Core (MAP-AC) is responsible for the overall implementation, management, coordination and support of the jointly developed research components (Figure 1), as well as coordination with the UNC-ARC's Administrative Core. The objective is to ensure a cohesive seamless administration of the overall partnership. This cohesiveness is essential to the fulfillment of the partnership's goals and objectives. The overall coordination, planning and evaluation ofthe partnership will be through the Steering Committee (SC). The SC will advise the MAP-AC on implementation, coordination and management ofthe cooperative agreement program. The administrative core of this cooperative agreement is organized to manage, direct and coordinate research, training and outreach-education activities. The Administrative core will provide leadership for the conduct of competitive alcohol research at NCCU in collaboration with UNC-ARC. The administrative core will support the Co-Directors in their goals to integrate research themes, promote collaborations, introduce new methodologies and help train and advise individuals on research techniques, career paths, productive experimental designs and aspects of publication and review. It will be a catalytic stimulus for enhancing and promoting alcohol research at NCCU in collaboration with the experienced UNC-ARC faculty. The full potential of this mutually beneficial CMARCD partnership between NCCU and UNC will be realized through two Specific Aims: 1. To investigate molecular mechanisms of alcohol-induced cellular pathologv. This proposal will connect the UNC-ARC and NCCU faculty research components in collaborative partnerships focused on defining molecular mechanisms involved in alcohol pathology. By design, each research component will examine molecular processes leading to cellular pathologies, specifically fetal neurotoxicity, adult brain stem cells, and squamous cell carcinomas associated with alcohol abuse. By conducting an integrated and focused investigation into the molecular mechanisms of alcohol pathology this proposal will make important contributions to understanding alcohol morbidity and will create an active and successful research program on alcohol pathology at NCCU. 2. To provide scholarly education on Alcohol Pathology. The UNC-ARC education programs lead the state in alcohol CME for health professionals, as well as training medical and graduate students on alcohol related pathology. NCCU faculty and students will be exposed to these education programs, as well as a wide variety of alcohol research seminars, laboratory meetings, research methodologies, techniques, unique equipment and unique models of alcohol pathology at UNC. The alcohol educational efforts in this proposal will involve NCCU graduate students through a combined Alcohol Annual Research Day, new course curricula on alcohol pathology developed by NCCU faculty, an alcohol seminar series hosted by the BBRI, and the UNC-ARC biweekly alcohol seminar series, as well as specific undergraduate student NCCU Disparity fellowships to students to study and learn about alcohol pathology and health disparities. This proposal will develop alcohol research expertise and promote alcohol research infrastructure at NCCU, an MSI. Further it will educate, involve and develop researchers from underrepresented populations through recruitment of NCCU students. Undergraduate Disparity Fellowships and alcohol curriculum development will help identify and involve individuals in learning about and reducing alcohol-related health disparities.
The Specific Aims ofthis CMARCD partnership will be achieved via six goals ofthe Administrative Core: 1. Provide scientific and administrative leadership for development and maintenance of the MAP-AC. 2. Maintain and enhance the partnership between the UNC Bowles Center and the NCCU/BBRI. 3. Recruit, select and mentor undergraduate and graduate students to understand the causes and consequences of alcohol use disorders and to participate in the conduct of alcohol research. 4. Recruit new or existing faculty at NCCU to expand their research interests to include alcohol research. 5. Organize an Annual Research Day of NCCU and UNC researchers that precedes the annual RSA meeting, providing a forum for NCCU faculty and students to present their alcohol research progress. 6. Evaluation of CMARCD progress with measurable objectives.
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