This competitive renewal application (years 16-20) is submitted in response to RFA DK-17-001, Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers, requesting continued funding of the Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center (called DDC for simplicity). This Center serves basic and clinical scientists at institutions within the Texas Medical Center (Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center) in Houston, TX. This NIDDK- funded DDC promotes, coordinates Digestive Disease activities in the Southwest U.S. The Center is comprised of a growing multidisciplinary group of investigators of 59 Full Members and 66 Associate Members, including basic and clinical scientists with proven track-record of success, and well-coordinated clinical programs dealing with pediatric and adult GI patients. DDC full members published at least 341 papers during the current funding period. Our qualifying digestive disease Funded Research Base from Full Members is $48,053,839; representing 45% increase in all digestive disease-related funding from 2012. Of this amount, approx. 65% is from NIH ($31,381,716 in direct costs) and this includes funding from the NIDDK totaling $11,922,232 (25% of total NIH digestive disease-related funding). Reflecting the goals of these projects, this is a Center for Gastrointestinal Infection and Injury. Institutional resource commitments in space, funds and personnel support this effort, including new positions in basic and clinical departments for multidisciplinary, independent faculty to establish new research programs. This Center facilitates on-going Digestive Diseases research, promotes translational research between basic and clinical areas, develops new projects, nurtures new investigators, and provides educational activities. Support is requested for an Administrative Core, three Basic Science Cores (Cellular and Molecular Morphology, Functional Genomics and Microbiome, and the newly constructed Gastrointestinal Experimental Model Systems) and one Clinical Core (Study Design and Clinical Research). We have fully implemented a web-based software to request, schedule, invoice, track and report services in all DDC cores. In addition, our robust Pilot/Feasibility (PF) and Enrichment Programs, including a Junior Investigator Group and Career Development Initiatives, to support innovative ideas and new investigators in Digestive Disease research and foster collaborations are a key part of the DDC and have been extremely successful. Center leaders are senior scientists-administrators experienced in directing interactive, multidisciplinary programs with well delineated succession plan and a robust mentoring and development plan that has resulted in 6 of 21 current leaders being previous PF awardees. A large, multi-ethnic population of infants and adults with Digestive Diseases emphasizes a need and opportunities for this Center.
The Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Research Core Center serves an integrated and interdisciplinary research base of basic and clinical investigators performing research to understand gastrointestinal health and disease, and treat and prevent intestinal, liver and pancreatic disease. Scientific cores, pilot and feasibility grants and enrichment programs promote and facilitate collaborations and stimulate ideas and capabilities to advance science and increase productivity of our interactive research community.
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