EXCEED THE SPACEPROVIDED. The initial COBRE grant established the Sensory Neuroscience Research Center (SNRC) with a multidisciplinary nucleus of independent investigators at West Virginia University. This COBRE support stimulated institutional commitments for new tenure-track salary lines and the construction of modern laboratory space for SNRC expansion and enabled SNRC investigators to obtain R01 funding. We request a second phase of COBRE support to complete the development of a self-sustaining research enterprise, and thereby increase the research capacity of our institution. We propose 4 specific aims.
Aim 1 is to achieve a critical mass of independently funded scientists. We have grown from 4 to 10 WVU investigators during the current funding period. In this application, 5 of these scientists have proposed new projects to aid transition to independent R01 funding. With proposed grant support we will further expand to 14 faculty members by recruiting established scientists, especially clinician investigators to broaden our studies of mechanisms of sensory disorders.
Aim 2 is to advance understanding of sensory systems by fostering new collaborations among faculty, thereby integrating new investigators into the Center. Recent and projected recruits extend the collective scope of our work and add new technical expertise that underlies unique opportunities for scientific interaction.
Aim 3 is to expand institutional research infrastructure through expansion of core facilities. Support is requested for SNRC core facilities for research and administrative activities, personnel to administer these cores, and partial support for institutional core facilities that are central to SNRC research efforts.
Aim 4 is to transition the SNRC to independent status. With further COBRE support, we will obtain a strong base of R01 funding that underpins applications for research core and program project grants. Our Health Sciences Center has implemented a strategic research plan to provide resources for infrastructure and faculty recruitment and increase the number of qualified graduate students to train in our laboratories and support our research programs. Five research projects encompassing four sensory systems (auditory, olfactory, somatosensory, and visual) are proposed. These projects reflect the multidisciplinary approach of SNRC, which includes the comparison across sensory modalities and multiple levels of analysis (molecular to systems), in species ranging from invertebrates through humans.
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