Over the past two decades the importance of glial cells in normal brain development has become increasingly appreciated. In addition to their well recognized role in normal brain function, dysfunction of glial cells are now recognized to be of critical importance in many devastating neurological disorders including but not limited to glial-derived brain tumors (glioma), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Cerebral Palsy and Trauma to the Head and Spinal Cord. The research that has led to these findings has been carried out by glial biologists who typically find themselves in a somewhat insular presence, often being the lone individual with an interest in glial biology in a Department or even an entire medical center. This is not the case at UAB where glial research has become a high priority. With 57 principal investigators UAB has one of the largest concentrations of glial investigators at a single academic institution in the United States. UAB has designated a university-wide interdisciplinary research center entirely to the study of glial cells and their role in Neurological disease. The Center for Glial Biology Medicine (CGBM) was formally established by UAB's Board of Directors in February 2006 with the mission to develop a comprehensive program to support basic and clinical research on the Biology of Glial cells. The CGBM provides scientists with unique research infrastructure, provides leadership and support toward extramural grant support as well as training for students, post-docs and young investigators. The CGBM offers a graduate course in glial biology, a year- around journal club and hosts a regularly scheduled seminar series. The 57 faculty of the Center for Glial Biology in Medicine span 16 Departments in 3 Schools and account for $17,496,439 in direct research support in 2009 alone. This proposal will support the hire of two additional promising new faculty members to the CGBM. We wish to target recruiting to researchers working on white matter glial cells and who pursue relevant clinical problems. These may be related to NG2 cells and brain development, white matter injury, periventricular leukomalacia or general nerve injury and remyelination. We feel that a tremendous opportunity exists for the newly recruited individuals and the current center members to enhance interactive research. Additional areas of opportunity relate to studies on glia and Neurodegenerative diseases, i.e. Alzheimer and Parkinson's as well as Glia and Cognition.

Public Health Relevance

This grant will recruit two new, promising young investigators to join the Center for Glial Biology in Medicine at UAB. With significant matching support from the institution they will be appointed on tenure-earning Assistant Professor positions, and will each generate several positions for staff scientist, post-docs and technicians. Through their expenditures on establishing and running laboratories they will be stimulating both the national and local economies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1-SRB-P (51))
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Korn, Stephen J
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Schools of Medicine
United States
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