The objective of this proposal is to establish a Center of Excellence (COE) in Pulmonary Diseases that is highly interactive and consists of a dynamic group of junior investigators whose research focus is on understanding the molecular and cellular immunological mechanisms associated with the pathogenesis if lung diseases. The Promising Junior Investigators (PJIs) have proposed four independent but complementary research projects that will use molecular, immunological, and pathological approaches to investigate lung diseases in mouse and non-human primate models. They will also use de-identified human samples to validate their findings from preclinical models. We will determine the host signaling molecules, such as IDO, ITK, IL4R??and TTP in the initiation of protective host immune responses to infectious (bacterial/viral) and non-infectious agents (allergens). The long-term goal is to establish a collaborative, productive, sustainable, and nationally/internationally recognized COE in Pulmonary Disease research.
The Specific Aims are: 1. To promote the establishment of a nationally/internationally recognized COE in Pulmonary Diseases. With the support of LSU, this COBRE-funded center will ensure that the pulmonary disease research group is sustainable and will provide much-needed resources to expand this research area which is primarily supported by the state of Louisiana; 2. To facilitate the improvement in research infrastructure for enhancing competitiveness for extramural grants. In addition to existing core facilities through NIGMS-funded COBRE-III, INBRE, and Louisiana Clinical and Translational Center (LA CaTS) in Baton Rouge, we will establish two scientific cores, such as Pulmonary Immunopathology and Molecular Biology. We will also renovate the office spaces into conventional animal holding and equipment rooms to have a dedicates suite for COBRE investigators. We will recruit 2 PJIs with complementary research areas in 2-3 years and 6 PJIs for the entire COBRE-I duration. The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) has committed to purchase of new equipment, provide service contracts and the COBRE will offer salaries to scientific and technical staff; and 3. To develop an administrative infrastructure to promote the independent career of PJIs. We have assembled senior scientists with outstanding track record to serve on the Internal Scientific and advisory committee (ISAC), external advisory board (EAB), and mentoring committee (MC) that will carefully evaluate scientific needs of each PJI and tailor the mentoring plan based on the individual?s need. Two mentors: one local (Baton Rouge) and one outside LSU (Louisiana) have been assigned. The PJIs will attend career development workshops and will participate in ethics and scientific writing. We will nominate PJIs for the NIH/CSR Early Career Grant Reviewer program. We will also assist PJIs with their presentations to the ISAC, EAB, and MC to seek their feedback on their grants submissions. The team assembled here is exceptionally matched to the research goals, complementary expertise in lung immunology, multidisciplinary, and has a solid history of productive collaboration. This COBRE program will provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of devastating lung diseases that guide future improved strategies to treating and preventing these and other lung diseases in human population.
We propose to establish a Center of Excellence (COE) that will provide Promising Junior Investigators with an environment that maximizes their potential to contribute to advances in Lung Disease Research. Understanding complex immunological process requires the combination of diverse approaches, and our COE is designed to catalyze interactions that foster interdisciplinary research. The center provides both guidance and infrastructure to accelerate progress in Pulmonary Disease research.