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Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences
Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute
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The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the NIH awarded a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant to the Center for Translational Neuroscience. This $15 million, ten year award is aimed at mentoring clinician scientists, in collaboration with basic scientists, to help them reach nationally competitive levels in NIH grant support. The COBRE programs at the CTN have oversight from an External Advisory Committee made up of established scientists from across the country, an Internal Advisory Committee made up of department chairs, and includes Administrative and Experimental Core Facilities, and a Career Development Program. A number of established and well-funded investigators have agreed to serve as Mentors for young clinician investigators at the CTN.

Edgar Garcia-Rill, PhD, Director of the CTN

During the award, we generated >$32 million in new grants to investigators and recruits, and published >400 articles or chapters and >400 abstracts or presentations. We devised a new and effective treatment for tinnitus, developed a device as well as a new drug treatment for hyperreflexia and spasticity after spinal cord injury, we developed a cure (elimination of symptoms) for spatial neglect, discovered a novel mechanism for sleep-wake control that will also impact the mechanisms behind anesthesia, and have decreased newborn mortality in the State. However, we needed an additional period of support in order to increase our critical mass of investigators, secure PPG and P50 awards, graduate from the program, and become an independent Center for Translational Neuroscience. Over the next 5 years, we will 1) enhance the infrastructure critical to the CTN by supporting, upgrading, and streamlining three Core Facilities, 2) strengthen and augment translational mission relevant research through mentoring promising early career clinicians and basic scientists by established, dedicated senior Mentors, 3) expand our successful Career Development Program for CTN investigators and institute a new Leadership Program for established and young researchers, who will be required to meet specific Performance Milestones, 4) support a translational pilot study research program of cutting edge science, promote state wide and additional collaborations within the institution, and create opportunities to develop and maintain competitive research programs, and 5) systematically collect, analyze, and use CTN information to answer questions about projects, cores, and policies, especially about their efficiency and effectiveness. The Research Plan proposed is designed to meet these aims and create a permanent Center for Translational Neuroscience. Given the successes outlined, and despite dramatic changes in funding availability, we are confident that we will meet our goals in achieving "graduation" from this program. We look forward to continuing to mentor additional promising clinician and basic scientists, and help improve health care for our citizens.

Research Projects:

  • Developing multiple therapies for ALS
  • Trial of modafinil for the treatment of PTSD
  • Novel treatment for schizophrenia
  • Modulating the long-term effects of neonatal pain
  • Biomarkers predicting brain injury in neonatal congenital heart disease.

The CTN was renewed for 5 years (05/01/2014-04/30/2019) under NIGMS IDeA Program award P30 GM110702.