This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. We structured our grant such that the administrative core supports the administrative office, startup packages for new faculty, phase-out budgets for successful projects, and equipment cores that are administered within the SNRC (biochemistry, histology, molecular biology and tissue culture, imaging) or by the Health Sciences Center (transgenic rodent, center for advanced imaging, electron microscopy). As new faculty members join the COBRE, their budgets are assigned initially as subprojects through this core to provide for immediate purchase of key equipment for their laboratories. Subsequently, their research proposals are submitted to our external advisors for approval and their budgets are assigned as individual tasks in our accounting system. In this section we describe activities in all of the listed areas during the past year. During the past year our Research and Grants Coordinator, Ms. Karen Neubauer, moved out of state. This position was filled by Ms. Angela Harrison, MS. Ms. Harrison has proven extremely adept at learning and conducting all of the operations of the SNRC, including ordering and accounting for the CoBRE grant, submission of grant applications to the NIH, and managing SNRC activities such as visits by our external advisors and biweekly works-in-progress meetings. Ms. Harrison supervises Mr. Brian Gonsalves, an intern fulfilling work-experience requirements for his bachelor?s degree in Business. We recruited two new faculty members during the past year. Dr. Sepideh Zareparsi is a human molecular geneticist with expertise in retinal disorders. Dr. Zareparsi joins Dr. Sokolov in new laboratory space constructed in our new Eye Institute Building. Dr. Zareparsi received her PhD in Neuroscience from Oregon Health and Sciences University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kellog Eye Center, University of Michigan. She began her appointment on January 2, 2006. Dr. Zareparsi is supported in part by startup funds allocated in the third year of the CoBRE grant. Our other recruit is Dr. Visvanathan Ramamurthy. Dr. Ramamurthy will also occupy new laboratory space in the Eye Institute. He studies animal models for macular degeneration, and has identified biochemical and genetic abnormalities in photoreceptor biology that underlies this disorder. He will likewise receive from CoBRE startup funds during the third year of the grant. Although described in the Progress Report, it is important to reiterate here that our faculty growth has been through filling of tenure-track, state funded positions. We have decided to recruit faculty strictly from outside of the university into these positions. It is important, we think, that a small institution continue to refresh its ideas and approaches to the conduct of scientific investigation. During the next month we will begin recruitment of a specialist in regeneration of sensory systems. We are targeting an established scientist in order to bring additional senior leadership and mentoring skills into our group. This individual will be appointed in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy and will occupy new laboratory space in a new Biomedical Research Building to be constructed on our medical campus (see description below). Drs. Mendola and Berrebi were allocated phase-out budgets of approximately $20,000 each during the past year. These funds carried Dr. Mendola through approval for funding of her NIH R01 application, which was confirmed at the NEI council meeting in February, 2006. Dr. Mendola was funded during the initial phase of the CoBRE grant. With her success, all five WVU investigators (a sixth investigator was located at Marshall University and moved out of state two years ago) graduated to R01 funding by utilizing CoBRE grant support. Dr. Berrebi utilized his phase-out funds to accomplish additional tasks in preparation for submission later this year of the competing renewal application for his R01 grant. Drs. Mathers and Spirou will resubmit applications this year in attempt to secure second R01 grants for each laboratory. Neither investigator is currently supported from the CoBRE grant. Administrative support for SNRC core facilities remains integral to our ability to conduct modern research. All of our facilities are used heavily. As an example, the confocal microscope is used increasingly each year and, although it is dedicated to SNRC researchers, investigators must plan experiments and reserve time up to one week in advance. The machine is used heavily evenings and is much used on weekends. Our labs increasingly employ in vitro and in vivo imaging techniques, and we see the importance of imaging growing rapidly in our work. During the past year, Dr. Spirou and a postdoctoral fellow from his laboratory, Dr. Hoffpauir, attended a week-long course on FRET imaging offered at the Keck Imaging Center, University of Virginia. We will employ these techniques in work at our center, but require the purchase of an additional imaging microscope to implement them properly. Therefore, our goal is to submit a shared instrumentation grant this fall to purchase a multiphoton microscope, equipped to conduct fluorescence lifetime measurements. We are working now to secure institutional commitments for matching funds. The CoBRE grant also supports Health Sciences Center core facilities. The Transgenic Rodent Facility is supported via partial salary coverage for the facility technician. The director of this facility is Dr. Peter Mathers, an SNRC faculty member. The electron microscope service contract is supported by the CoBRE grant. SNRC faculty are the heaviest users of this instrument. The Center for Advanced Imaging has been supported indirectly via research projects on the CoBRE grant held by Drs. Mendola and Lewis. Each investigator has purchased head coils for fMRI, and Dr. Mendola purchased a scanner-friendly eye-tracking and visual stimulation system. These instruments are available as shared equipment within the imaging center. We have scheduled our next meeting for the External Advisory Panel on May 2-3, 2006. After this meeting, Dr. Brian Wandell of Stanford University will cycle off of the panel. We will seek to replace him with another prominent scientist (Dr. Wandell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences) having expertise in brain imaging.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-RI-8 (02))
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West Virginia University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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