The long range goal of this RCMI program renewal application is to expand and improve the capacity for women's health research, including HIV/AIDS at Meharry Medical College (MMC), placing particular emphasis on those diseases that disproportionately impact women of color. Numerous reports have documented differences in health status between Caucasian women and women of color, particularly African American (AA) and Hispanic Women. In the current application we seek to increase the capacity for women's health research at MMC by providing ongoing support for two recently hired RCMI investigators. Dr. P. Gangula will continue his studies on diabetic gastroparesis, which has a 4-times greater incidence in women, and Dr. N. Ismail will study immune regulation of human monocytic ehrlichiosis during pregnancy. We plan to recruit three mental health/behavioral science investigators to add this dimension of women's health research. In the pilot project core: Dr. X. Dong will study HIV-1 assembly, Dr. S. Halder will study Vitamin D deficiency and uterine fibroids in AA women and Dr. C. Thota will seek to correlate gene polymorphism and hypovitaminosis D in preterm birth. A strong team of senior scientists will facilitate a robust mentoring and faculty development experience for all RCMI Investigators. Two existing core facilities (Proteomic and Genomic &BL3/Flow Cytometry) will be merged /upgraded and a new core facility (Female Tissue Acquisition Core) will be developed. The RCMI program will be interfaced with other MMC research programs and the RTRN network to expand and enhance the resources and opportunities for investigators.
The specific aims of the current application are to 1) exceed a 3 year average of 2 peer-reviewed publications/year/RCMI Investigator by the end of the award period;2) to facilitate submission of investigator-initiated grant applications by all RCMI Investigators prior to their 3rd year of support;3) to exceed 50% of RCMI investigators acquiring investigator-initiated support by the end of the award cycle;and 4) to have documented evidence that RCMI supported core facilities, bioinformatics support, as well as RTRN support were appropriately leveraged to achieve the above successes.
A major component of the mission of Meharry Medical College is to conduct research that fosters the elimination of health disparities while contributing significantly to the diversity of the next generation of health care providers as well as biomedical scientists and physician-scientists. The research resources (personnel and physical) requested in this application will greatly facilitate the accomplishment of these goals.
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