Overall This proposal is continue the development of a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Nationally, advances in the neurosciences are proceeding on many fronts and addressing fundamental questions in both basic and clinical science. The COBRE at UNR was established to synergize and elevate the capacity for neuroscience research at UNR and the state of Nevada, by 1) cross-fertilizing research units that had already developed teams of focused expertise in cognitive or cellular neuroscience or bioengineering; and 2) providing the modern infrastructure required to mount impactful research programs in the field. Phase I has supported seven projects and five pilot projects spanning both basic and clinical research. Mentored project leaders have achieved very high productivity in both peer-reviewed publications and NIH and NSF funding. Phase I also developed research cores with high impact and use, including establishing the first fMRI facility in the region. The resources provided through the cores have expanded far beyond the original aims, and have been mounted in ways that are highly cost-effective and sustainable. Phase II will further expand and solidify these successes, supporting an initial team of 5 projects that will continue to build UNR?s strength in cellular and cognitive neuroscience while also targeting strategic growth in computational neuroscience. The project leaders will be mentored by a strong team of successful researchers who will bring perspectives and expertise drawn from many disciplines, with a framework chosen to foster real interdisciplinary collaborations. Research cores for Neuroimaging and Molecular Imaging will be expanded to provide an array of critical tools and training that will both strengthen and open new research opportunities for COBRE projects and the broader neuroscience community. A new core will also be developed to support applications of virtual and augmented reality for sensory and cognitive neuroscience, an area where we have again identified high potential impact and need. Finally, the COBRE will continue to drive the rapid growth of other neuroscience initiatives at UNR, by becoming the research arm of a new Institute of Neuroscience that will be established with university support at the beginning of Phase II. This will allow the research aims of the center to connect with and leverage the recently initiated Graduate Program in Integrative Neuroscience, and begin the transition to a permanent and self-sustaining research center.
Overall Neurological impairments and disease are a major focus of healthcare, and understanding and treating these impairments is central to the mission of many institutes at NIH. The COBRE will support research that will help to characterize both the healthy brain and neural disorders, and will advance knowledge ranging from the neural basis of behavior to neural damage and repair.
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