The Botanical Core of the BRC on Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome will facilitate the work of all Research Projects, the Integrative Biology Core (IBC) and the Pilot Research and Training Programs. The Botanical Core uses state-of-the-art phytochemical discovery, characterization, standardization and production approaches and modem equipment and greenhouse facilities to perform its mission which include the following specific aims:
Aim 1. The Botanical Core supports the activities of each research project, the IBC and the pilot studies by providing specific services, biochemical tools and methods including: greenhouse-based cultivation of source plants and optimized production of bioactives, production of botanicals for the Center's research, pre-clinical, clinical and pilot studies, activity-guided isolation of bioactives and characterization of their interactions, analytical and structural chemistry support for the research activities, quality control and botanical authentication when necessary and determination of the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of identified active compounds using a gastrointestinal model and plasma analysis.
Aim 2. The Botanical Core collaborates with PIs and with intemal committees to design and perform the experiments and to interpret the results from projects, coordinate plant cultivation, preparation of extracts, fractions and compounds with the PIs' needs for biological testing, develop methods for expedited testing, relate observed biological response to bioaccessibility and bioavailability data.
Aim 3. The Botanical Core assists in design and conduct of pilot studies and in the education and training of new investigators for biobotanical research, provides specific recommendations and/or evaluations of the quality and sourcing of botanical materials to be used for proposed pilot studies and provides all necessary training to investigators and T32 fellows requiring specific skills for the evaluation and use of botanical preparations for in vitro and in vivo models related to metabolic syndrome.
Aim 4. The Botanical Core conducts original research with the following objectives: improve materials, methods and instruments for ongoing projects, create enabling approaches in the advance of new projects, and to continue to screen and identify new candidates and future projects.
The Botanical Core serves a central function to the BRC by supplying the research materials needed by each of the projects and cores with the assurance that the materials are properly identified and characterized for reproducibility and standardization which are the requisite basis for research conducted with botanicals and metabohc syndrome.
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