This CoBRE Phase II application seeks support to further develop the multi-institute Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases (OCRID) into a sustainable center of research excellence. Established in 2013 through the Phase I CoBRE grant, OCRID is quickly becoming a focal point for expanding respiratory infectious disease research in Oklahoma. OCRID investigators come from major research institutions across the state of Oklahoma, including 10 colleges at Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma (OU), as well as an independent research institute, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). OCRID is unified by a commitment to excellence in research and training in respiratory and infectious diseases. Our scientists and leadership cultivate excellence through deliberate faculty mentorship, robust interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative research, and a dynamic bench-to-bedside-to-marketplace approach. As the first CoBRE grant ever received by OSU, the Phase I award has made a transformative change in the research landscape on respiratory infectious disease research in Oklahoma. Building on the success of the Phase I award, the overall objective of this Phase II CoBRE application is to build a sustainable research center of excellence in the field of respiratory and infectious diseases. Of the four Phase II research projects on respiratory infectious diseases in this application led by four talented and promising junior investigators, two focus on influenza virus, one on Streptococcus pneumonia and one on Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Aim 1 will expand the critical mass of multi-disciplinary investigators in the thematic area of respiratory infectious diseases.
This aim will be accomplished by 1) mentoring four Phase II project leaders to become NIH-funded independent investigators; 2) hiring at least 4 new tenure-track faculty members whose research is within the focus of the Center; 3) nurturing junior investigators and re-directing established investigators into respiratory infectious disease research via a pilot project program; and 4) recruiting and mentoring replacement project leaders after the current Phase II project leaders rotate out after the initial 2-3 years of support.
Aim 2 will further develop the research infrastructure by strengthening three unique research cores (Animal Models, Immunopathology, and Molecular Biology).
Aim 3 will enhance inter-institutional collaborations in Oklahoma to develop a self-sustainable respiratory and infectious research center. The further development of OCRID via this Phase II CoBRE will have even greater positive impact on respiratory and infectious disease research in the state of Oklahoma and will sustain the only Center of its kind in Oklahoma.
Respiratory infections impose some of the most prevalent disease burdens worldwide and are more widespread than other higher-profile diseases, such as AIDS and cancer. Pneumonia affects approximately 7% of the global population and is often caused by bacterial and viral lung infections, most commonly influenza, Streptococcus pneumonia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Accomplishing the goals of the research projects will result in the development of drugs to prevent and treat respiratory infections and thus the current proposal addresses a public health priority.
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