The Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) proposes to establish a thematic, multidisciplinary research center titled the Center for Translational Pediatric Research (CTPR). ACHRI is located at Arkansas Children's Hospital, which is the only pediatric hospital in Arkansas; thus, providing a unique environment and clinical population to study pediatric diseases including cancer. Dr. Alan Tackett, a Professor of Pediatrics and an internationally recognized leader in the field of developmental epigenetics, cancer, systems biology and proteomics, will direct the center. He has extensive administrative experience and has mentored multiple junior faculty to the point of receiving their first R01s. NIH has continually funded Dr. Tackett, a native Arkansan, for his entire career, and he has been involved with the NIH IDeA program (through COBRE and INBRE grants) for over a decade. The scientific theme of the CTPR is the study of how pediatric diseases develop from systems biology and mechanistic standpoints with the ultimate goal of identifying intersections of disease and development, which, in turn, will produce targets for therapeutic intervention and the development of new treatments. The thematic focus of the CTPR is unique to COBRE-supported programs nation-wide. The centerpiece of the CTPR will be the use of state-of-the-art systems biology approaches to uncover and mechanistically explore the basis of pediatric diseases. The CTPR will have an Administrative Core, three Research Cores and four Research Projects. The Administrative Core will direct the activities of the center, establish and support Research Cores, oversee a Pilot Project Program and oversee mentoring of Project Leaders through a comprehensive Faculty Development Plan. The CTPR will support Proteomic, Genomic and Systems Biology Bioinformatics Research Cores, which are each essential for the thematic mission of the center. The center will initially invest in four junior faculty members all of whom will utilize systems biology tools to study a variety of pediatric conditions related to brain development, chronic kidney disease, gastrointestinal tract development, bone marrow failure, and cancer. The CTPR will truly be a thematic, multi-disciplinary center bringing together expertise in pediatric research, developmental biology, cancer, imaging, systems biology, bioinformatics, proteomics and genomics. The long-term goal of the CTPR is to provide longevity and sustainability for a thematic, multidisciplinary pediatric research center that utilizes cutting-edge systems biology technologies and state-of-the-art translational research to study pediatric diseases. The short- term goal for Phase I of the CTPR is to follow a Center Organization and Management Plan to establish the foundation of the center, develop and mentor junior investigators with a Faculty Development Plan, and grow the center members to a critical mass necessary to position the group to be competitive for extramural support beyond COBRE-funding.
The Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) will establish a thematic, multidisciplinary research center titled the Center for Translational Pediatric Research (CTPR). Establishment of the CTPR will have a resounding impact on the research infrastructure at ACHRI, one which will ensure that new discoveries and the new knowledge they produce can be translated into novel treatments for children. This COBRE grant will allow researchers at ACHRI to build a world-class, one-of-a-kind center that leverages existing pediatric research at ACHRI and cutting-edge scientific technologies to provide better care to children in Arkansas and across the nation.
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