Alabama Neuroscience Blueprint Core Center
Neuroscience is one of the most important areas of modern biomedical research. Despite the declaration of the 1990's as the "Decade of the Brain" and significant scientific advances over the last 15 years, effective treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases remains the largest and fastest growing unmet medical need in the United States. To meet this need, a multi-disciplinary and integrative approach to neuroscience research is essential. Faithful small animal models of human neurological and psychiatric function and dysfunction must be developed and capitalized upon to enhance our understanding of the nervous system and to aid the development of new disease prevention and treatment strategies. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has a long history of establishing and supporting thematic cores and centers and as part of a recently completed UAB School of Medicine Strategic Planning process, the development of a truly innovative and interdisciplinary Comprehensive Neuroscience Center has been identified as a top institutional priority. UAB has experienced a dramatic influx of accomplished neuroscience investigators in numerous departments over the last several years and has committed substantial resources to the recruitment of both junior and senior level neuroscience investigators over the next five years. In this application we propose to establish a series of inter-related core facilities that will facilitate ongoing studies of genetically modified rodents and other small animals and enhance future generation, characterization, and mechanistic analyses of small animal models of neurological and psychiatric function and dysfunction. In addition to an Administrative Core (Core A), five new research cores will be established: Core B, Molecular Engineering; Core C, Cellular and Molecular Neuropathology; Core D, Neuroimaging; Core E, In Vivo Physiology &Phenotyping; and Core F, Cellular and Synaptic Physiology. These cores are specifically designed to provide new research capabilities and will complement existing facilities to provide neuroscience investigators unparalleled ability to develop and study unique animal models of neurobiology and neuropathology. In addition to the large neuroscience community at UAB, the Alabama Neuroscience Blueprint Core Center will support the research activities of Neuroscience Blueprint funded investigators throughout the State of Alabama and at institutions in neighboring states. Combined with ongoing efforts to establish a Comprehensive Neuroscience Center at UAB, this application will dramatically enhance neuroscience research capabilities in the Deep South. Finally, a major goal of this application is to provide junior investigators and previously funded Blueprint Institute and Center neuroscientists a mechanism by which they can be scientifically productive during an exceedingly tight NIH budget period.