The Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology is applying for P30 funds to recruit new faculty with research focus and demonstrated achievement in the areas of membrane transporter, channel or receptor structure function analysis and or modern proteomic analysis of membrane transporter, channel or receptor regulation through post-translational modification. Four years ago we completed the first round of hires under the Membrane Biology Initiative, centered in the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology. After an analysis of our strengths, weaknesses and emerging trends we were prepared to mount a second major recruitment in the same area with the goal of filling gaps in our research expertise and positioning the department for future success. Due to budget constraints as a result of the recent economic downturn we had to place our search for three state-funded positions on hold because we lacked the start up funds necessary to ensure a healthy career launch. The P30 mechanism will make it possible for us to hire one and, using departmental reserves, possibly two junior faculty members. The existing members of the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology are largely focused on membrane related problems and the new recruit(s) will therefore find a cohort of individuals that shares common interests and are willing and able to serve as faculty mentors and collaborators. We in the department are invested in our recruits and work hard to help them launch productive, sustainable academic careers;we hire colleagues. Our previous recruits, under the Membrane Biology Initiative are doing well and all but one have been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. We expect that the last junior faculty recruit will be promoted this fall. It is now time to begin to bring new junior faculty aboard. The recruits will benefit from a solid, high quality supportive environment and the department will benefit from the infusion of youth, vigor and new approaches that complement and extend our existing strengths. The University of California Davis is ascendant in the national rankings and it provides an excellent environment for research especially but not restricted to the Biological Sciences.
Membrane proteins are crucial to cell tissue and organ function and dysfunction. In the post molecular and post genome eras the opportunities to perform high resolution studies of this major class of genome encoded proteins are more compelling than ever before. We have the tools in place to perform in depth studies of membrane proteins that are central to cell function and consequently, important drug targets. This proposal to fund the start up cost of an entry level faculty member focused on membrane protein structure-function and or regulation will augment and extend our ability to productively and imaginatively address these questions of broad scientific and biomedical relevance.
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