This renewal application of the Puerto Rico IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (PR-INBRE) will reinforce the original goal to strengthen the biomedical research capacity in Puerto Rico by serving as a platform for conducting multidisciplinary research. This objective will be augmented by the support of four thematic focus areas: Neuroscience, Molecular Medicine, Drug Development, Environmental and Behavioral Research; buttressed by the Bioinformatics infrastructure developed during the previous funding period. The new lead institution, the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus (UPR-MSC) is a complete academic health center and a predominantly Hispanic-serving institution. The UPR-MSC will strengthen collaborations between lead and partner institutions, enhance their capacity for biomedically relevant research, and provide scientific leadership and logistical support for a 17-member PR-INBRE network of 11 Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), 3 Medical Schools, 1 Professional School, and 2 Research-intensive institutions. The PR-INBRE is expected to benefit the ~89,712 full time students pursuing Ph.D., M.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in STEM, Medicine, and Biomedical disciplines. Administrative, Bioinformatics, Instrumentation, and Education Cores of the PR-INBRE will implement innovative research training and career development activities for faculty, postdoctoral Fellows, undergraduate, medical, and graduate students. These activities will be sponsored by a Developmental Research Project Program supporting a variety of funding and mentoring initiatives for young investigators. Also supported will be research mentoring and salary support for students, a Visiting Speaker Program for INBRE institutions, Technical Training Workshops, Specialized Courses, and Travel Awards.
The Specific aims of PR-INBRE are: 1-Strengthen the PR-INBRE network lead and partner institutions' biomedical expertise and research infrastructure. 2- Contribute to the development of research faculty, postdoctoral Fellows, graduate and undergraduate students of underrepresented groups in research. 3- Enhance the science and technology competency of the biomedical workforce. Improved oversight of research project investigators and greater emphasis on effectiveness of Research Mentors coupled with intensification of external and internal evaluation and tracking of outcomes for every program activity will be a hallmark of this program. Through collaborations with regional INBRE and COBRE programs, we will leverage our research resources and scientific expertise, and enrich the number and quality of research and training opportunities. A unified administrative structure coupled with a strong institutional commitment to the INBRE goals will create a nurturing environment that will raise the productivity and quality of research in the network, and result in the recruitment and retention of talented researchers. We expect to sustain a vigorous biomedical training pipeline that contributes to diversity in the biomedical workforce, and ultimately impact human health through research.
The Puerto Rico IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (PR-INBRE) will create opportunities to study health disparities and other social issues in the thematic focus areas of Neuroscience, Molecular Medicine, Drug Design, and Environmental and Behavioral Sciences including Community Based Research. By enhancing the biomedical research enterprise in Puerto Rico, the NIH INBRE initiative will increase minority participation in research and academia and impact human health.
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