Oklahoma's IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) will enhance statewide research infrastructure and capacity for biomedical research by 1) Supporting the research career development of promising investigators through direct support of their research, 2) Enhancing the pipeline of undergraduate students entering graduate programs by support of student training initiatives at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), community colleges (CCs), and the pre-college level, 3) Providing a core facility network that supports both the research of the INBRE investigators and the statewide biomedical research effort, and 4) Enhancing the science and technology knowledge of the state's workforce. The Oklahoma INBRE Network comprises two research-intensive institutions, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), whose primary missions are biomedical research, education, and patient care. These institutions are intimately coupled with six PUIs and four CCs that are essential to the success of the INBRE network. The statewide INBRE network includes Oklahoma's only Historically Black University, a PUI with the highest number of American Indians of any four year college in the nation, Oklahoma's largest tribal college, as well as other PUIs and CCs with large numbers of students from underrepresented groups. The scientific research themes are multi-disciplinary and span the areas of Cancer, Developmental Biology, and Microbiology & Immunology. INBRE will support with significant resources eight Research Project Investigators (RPIs) in the three scientific themes, four from OUHSC/OMRF and four from the network PUIs. Specific mentoring and career development advice from a senior investigator mentoring committee for each scientific theme will help to guide the RPIs into independently funded research careers. In addition, 10 grant awards for research and equipment also will be provided to the PUIs through an annual competition. Support for undergraduate students will be provided by INBRE summer internships (20 for the PUIs and 15 for the CCs). INBRE also will support a Bioinformatics Core facility at OUHSC that will provide a statewide bioinformatics research resource, coupling this with educational outreach and course development for the INBRE network PUIs and CCs. Building on past success, INBRE support for faculty and student research, core facilities, and educational outreach will continue to enhance the student biomedical research pipeline, the knowledge of science and technology in the state's workforce, and stimulate Oklahoma to become nationally competitive in biomedical research.
Infectious diseases, cancer, and developmental biology syndromes are important public health priorities. Biomedical research in these broad scientific areas and understanding how they relate to human health and disease requires building more research infrastructure and capacity. Through the large and dynamic INBRE biomedical research network in Oklahoma, we are enhancing the current and future biomedical research workforce and infrastructure in these specific areas to improve public health for future generations.
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