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 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, Ph.D., Director of the CTN

Edgar Garcia-Rill, Ph.D., Director of the CTN

During the initial 10-year Phases I and II of 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.

During the current 5-year Phase III of the award, we are in the process of

  1. Enhancing the infrastructure critical to the CTN by supporting, upgrading, and streamlining our Core Facilities
  2. Strengthening and augmenting translational mission relevant research through mentoring promising early career clinicians and basic scientists by established, dedicated senior Mentors
  3. Expanding 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. Supporting 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
  5. Systematically collecting, analyzing, and usage of 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.

The graph below provides the cumulative total of new awards to date for CTN Recruits and Investigators over Phases I-III of the IDeA Program award. During Phase III, since we provide only Pilot Study awards, we have shifted our attention to helping secure large-scale awards for UAMS. We first helped Martin Hauer-Jensen, MD, PhD, secure a COBRE award on radiation biology for the College of Pharmacy. We then helped Charlotte Hobbs, MD, PhD, secure a Data Coordination Center for Pediatric Network Clinical Trials. More recently, we helped Alan Tackett, PhD, secure a COBRE award on Proteomics. We are also helping Charles O’Brien, Ph.D., gain a COBRE in bone biology. In the future, the aim is to help these COBREs be renewed.

This graph shows the cumulative new grant income that the CTN helped acquire for UAMS and ACH investigators over all three Phases. During year 4 of Phase III, we surpassed the $100 million milestone.

CTN Cumulative New Grant Income

Yearly New Grant Income              Cumulative New Grant Income

Phase I                  Dollars                   Dollars
2004                      413,960                   413,960
2005                      1,100,873                1,514,833
2006                      1,923,219                3,438,052
2007                      9,763,702               13,201,754
2008                      8,635,140              21,836,894

Phase II
2009                      2,213,555               24,050,449
2010                      1,311,229                25,361,678
2011                      4,119,361                29,481,039
2012                      2,635,893              32,117,932
2013                      5,199,896              37,317,828             

Phase III
2014                      5,614,988               42,932,816
2015                      15,004,265             57,937,081
2016                      36,730,771             94,667,852
2017                      11,033,300             105,701,152