UAB will be the home of the Alabama Neuroscience Blueprint Core facility, a research program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will link investigators from universities and institutions across the state and region. A five-year, $8.6 million grant will provide six shared core facilities for scientists working in neuroscience.
NIH created the program in 2004 to develop new tools, resources and training opportunities to accelerate the pace of discovery in neuroscience research. In 2006, numerous institutions throughout the United States submitted applications for funding, and the UAB project is one of only four to receive NIH funding.
“The highly competitive application process for this program involved many of the leading research institutions in the country,” said Robert Rich, M.D., UAB senior vice president and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “The creation of the Alabama Neuroscience Blueprint Core facility provides further testimony to the tremendous support the people and government of Alabama give to biomedical research, including the excellent scientific framework that already is in place at universities across the state. This facility promises to vault Alabama to the top tier in neuroscience research, nationally.
“This grant award lays the essential groundwork for a world-class neuroscience research environment in Alabama,” Rich said. “It will create the kind of infrastructure needed to support, sustain and build neuroscience research programs across the state and region.”
In addition to a large neuroscience community at UAB, the core facility will support the research activities of NIH blueprint-funded scientists from Auburn University, the University of Alabama, the University of South Alabama, Southern Research Institute, Tulane University and other participating institutions in the Southeast.
“These NIH-supported core facilities will provide investigators new research tools to enhance our understanding of the nervous system. This, in turn, should help speed the development of new drugs and therapies for a wide range of neurologic and psychiatric conditions and diseases,” said facility director Kevin Roth, M.D., Ph.D., UAB professor of pathology and director of the Division of Neuropathology. “This is a truly collaborative effort, crossing institutional lines and synergizing activities across many disciplines.”
The six cores are a molecular engineering core, a cellular and molecular neuropathology core, a neuroimaging core, an in vivo physiology and phenotyping core, a synaptic physiology core and an administrative core. They are designed to provide new research capabilities and will complement existing programs and core facilities to provide investigators throughout the Southeast with an unprecedented ability to develop and study unique animal models of nervous system function and dysfunction.
The cores will be able to provide limited services and opportunities for investigators immediately and will be fully operational in about six months, following the purchase and installation of additional equipment.