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UTMB Institutional Overview

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), is located on a Gulf Coast island 48 miles south of Houston. UTMB is the third oldest medical school founded, and the oldest medical school in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River. The UTMB complex currently encompasses 54 major buildings, including 5 interconnected hospital buildings with over 450 hospital beds, on 85 acres at the east end of Galveston Island. The University maintains close affiliation with one of only three Shriner's Hospitals for Children in the U.S, which is also located on the UTMB campus. A new hospital is being built on the campus which will feature 310 patient rooms, including 54 dedicated ICU beds, a 28-bed day surgery unit, 20 state-of-the-art operating suites, a new Intensive Care Unit, and an emphasis on translational research.

Education Resource Highlights

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Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS) and the NIH/NCRR Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA).

The Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS) was formed in 2008 to serve as a unifying infrastructural institutional entity under which translational science and medicine could be organized, promoted, and administered, and is under the Direction of Dr. Allan Brasier. Subsequently, in 2009, UTMB was awarded a CTSA from the NIH/NCRR (NIH/NCRR Clinical Translational Science Award) which has become a major portion of the ITS. The mission of the UTMB ITS/CTSA is to facilitate innovative team-based translational research that impacts human health. In so doing, a strong training and mentoring environment will be provided for a new generation of translational investigators that embraces rigorous and ethical scientific principles with community involvement. Among the goals of the ITS are: 1) facilitate translational research as a discipline at UTMB, 2) stimulate the application of postgenomic tools in the conduct of translational research and monitor their effectiveness, 3) proactively catalyze multidisciplinary translational teams, and 4) develop training programs in translational research at all levels of graduate training.

Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine (SCEHM)

Established at UTMB in 1999, the SCEHM has historically supported the NIEHS Environmental Toxicology Training Program with funds for a variety of facets associated with trainee education. Today and going forward, SCEHM continues to provide support for our training program for: 1) recruitment, 2) trainee mentoring experiences and research support, and 3) the Toxicology Journal Club. At the same time, the SCEHM makes a concerted effort to educate the public on several educational levels about how environmental pollutants and toxicants in the air and water affect quality of life and health, and is therefore involved at multiple levels of both academic and public education.

NIEHS Center in Environmental Toxicology (CET)

The NIEHS CET has been in existence with initial funding since 1995, with a mission to understand the environmental basis of human disease. The Center investigators concentrate their efforts in three disease categories: 1) asthma pathogenesis; 2) environmentally-linked carcinogenesis; and 3) disease states induced by reactive oxygen stress. The research enterprise encompasses the realm of basic laboratory research examining disease mechanisms, and extends into clinically relevant translational studies. Most of the CET members are also Environmental Toxicology Training grant faculty, facilitating the synergy between the Center and this Training Program.

Research Resource Highlights

Biomolecular Resource Facility (BRF)

The BRF is supported by the NIH/NHLBI and is the major Institutional resource for Proteomics research and training that is carried out, within the UTMB Proteomics Program. This Program affords students an opportunity to explore and investigate biological phenomena from a different perspective, a change of research paradigm, which is more global in focus and involves predominantly a discovery science approach that provides research support targeted to the analysis of biomolecules including DNA, proteins, and peptides. This facility is located in the Basic Science Building. Support from several Centers, the Institution, and two major awards have facilitated the development of this facility. UTMB received one of ten seven-year center awards for $15 million dollars from the NHLBI's $257 million dollar proteomics initiative (BAA-HL-02-04) to develop proteomic technologies and study airway inflammation. Proteomics at UTMB is integrated with bioinformatics and genomics and combines information toward a systems biology understanding.

Bioinformatics Program

The Bioinformatics Program is directed by Bruce A. Luxon, Ph.D and located primarily in the Dockside Building. This program specializes in computational genomics and proteomics, and the analysis of biomedical information using state of the art computational methods. The UTMB Bioinformatics Program has built a high performance intranet designed for large-scale data management, analysis, and visualization. This allows UTMB research groups to warehouse and mine vast amounts of microarray data easily and efficiently on our high performance Unix servers from their lab and desktop PCs.

NIEHS Center in Environmental Toxicology

The is NIEHS Center in Environmental Toxicology directed by Dr. Cornelis Elferink. The research mission of this Center is to integrate, coordinate and foster interactions and collaborations among a group of established investigators pursuing research pertinent to the effects of environmental factors on human health. Our proximity to sources of many significant environmental problems, such as ozone pollution, emissions of fine particulates, hazardous chemical releases, hazardous waste sites, and pediatric lead exposure, makes UTMB a compelling site for a multidisciplinary environmental health sciences center. During the fifteen years of its existence, this Center has emerged as a national leader in elucidating cellular response mechanisms to environmental challenge and in working with the community to enhance awareness of environmental health issues and to elaborate prevention and intervention strategies. The overarching theme of the UTMB NIEHS Center is the role of oxidative stress in mediating the health effects of exposure to environmental factors. Center investigators, many of whom are associated with multidisciplinary Collaborative Research Teams-comprised of both basic researchers and physician-scientist are studying the mechanisms by which reactive oxygen species are produced and detoxified, modulate signaling pathways, and are involved in the etiology of Asthma.

Molecular Genetics (MG) Core

Molecular Genetics provides NIEHS Center investigators with a variety of essential services and technical support in the area of recombinant DNA techniques. This core is located primarily in the Medical Research Building and directed by Dr Thomas Woods. Molecular genetics and recombinant DNA technology are integral parts of the experimental design of many of this center's current research programs. Many of the reagents and assays, which are the basis of these powerful technologies, are routine but nonetheless require considerable time and expertise. The MG Core addresses these various needs through a system that provides technical services and scientific support designed to enhance the productivity of all of the Center laboratories. The MG Core utilizes the facilities and expertise of the Sealy Center for Molecular Science Recombinant DNA Laboratory (RDL) in providing the technical services and scientific support required by the Center.

Synthetic Organic Chemistry Core (SOCC)

Synthetic Organic Chemistry Core (SOCC) is directed by Dr Richard Hodge and is located in Ewing Hall. The SOCC was established within the Sealy Center for Molecular Science and is now an integral part of the SCEHM and NIEHS Center at UTMB. This core fulfills two purposes: 1) To provide an on-campus cost-efficient chemical synthesis facility with expertise in synthesis of defined chemical DNA lesions unavailable elsewhere or prohibitively expensive commercially, and other organic molecules for biological and medical research; and 2) To reduce costs for this service by sharing this resource campus wide among several research groups. The SOCC program for achieving these goals utilizes known literature methods and develops new methods and protocols for the synthesis of modified nucleosides representing known site-specific DNA damage.

Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine (SCEHM)

Established in 1999, in response to a faculty task force representing 12 UTMB departments and centers, and is currently directed by Dr. Cornelis Elferink. The SCEHM serves as an umbrella organization contributing administrative and fiscal support to environmental health sciences research at UTMB, including the NIEHS Center and Toxicology Training Grant. This center seeks to promote campus-wide strengths and allow UTMB to address statewide environmental health needs. Envisioned as a "center without walls," the SCEHM coordinates UTMB's multidisciplinary strengths in environmental science and medicine. Research activities of the 40 full-time faculty encompass approximately $37 million in current grants in such divergent specialties as internal medicine, pediatrics, pathology, pharmacology/toxicology, structural biology and molecular science. The resources of the SCEHM enable UTMB to raise the caliber of research, education and outreach in clinical and basic sciences through strengthened infrastructure, new cores, and several key appointments.

Environmental Inhalation Exposure/Lung Function Core Facility

Directed by Dr. Bill Ameredes is available to trainees for experiments examining environmental toxicant effects in cellular and animal models. The facility is maintained under negative pressure relative to the surrounding building spaces, to insure personnel and staff safety, and is equipped with safety interlocks that shut down gas and air flow in the event of a power interruption or smoke detection. The Lung Function/ Physiology Assessment Laboratory (LFPA) is available to provide measures of lung function in rodents, including direct lung resistance/compliance and non-invasive airway reactivity to methacholine and other aerosol agents under IACUC approval.

Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine (SCMM)

The Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine (SCMM) is directed by Dr. Allan Brasier, was established initially as the Sealy Center for Molecular Sciences (SCMS) in 1991 with $10M in UTMB and foundation resources to enhance and support molecular biology activities at UTMB and to excel in fundamental research in the molecular sciences. In 1999, the SCMS devolved into the SCMM and the SCEHM, to emphasize the importance of each respective area in Molecular Medicine and in Environmental Health Medicine. At its inception, the Center's 14 core faculty, all members of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB), conduct fundamental research in mammalian and eukaryotic molecular genetics. The SCMM also supports core laboratories dedicated to oligonucleotide microarray analysis, DNA sequencing, protein expression and purification and education in molecular biology. The SCMM is playing an important part in the new enterprise of genomics, bioinformatics and proteomics by housing a core laboratory for the analysis of Affymetrix microarrays (established in 2000 with Dr. Thomas Wood as Core Director).

Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology (SCCCB)

Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology (SCCCB) was established to promote original scientific research in the molecular and cellular biology of cancer on the UTMB campus and to facilitate translation of novel research findings into clinical applications for the improved treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of cancer. A broader mission is to coalesce all ongoing efforts in cancer research, clinical care, education, and prevention into a larger cancer center effort with multidisciplinary, multi-departmental and multi-institutional components to provide the most up-to-date and compassionate care for the cancer patient.

Sealy Center on Aging

Sealy Center on Aging is an independent, multidisciplinary component that provides a wide range of expertise and resources in clinical care, research, and education related to aging studies and aging populations. Dr. James Goodwin directs the Center on Aging which has 23 Senior Fellows and 41 Fellows who represent all four schools and two institutes at UTMB. Among the collaborative research projects spearheaded by the center are a $3.9 million program-project grant on the cell biology of stress response in aging, the Health of the Public Needs Assessment Survey sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $3.9 million study of Mexican American Elderly Health, and the $6.5 millions Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.

Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBME)

Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBME) is directed by one of our faculty trainers, Masood Motamedi, PhD, CBME was developed with significant funding from the NIH, NSF, DOD, NASA and industry. The mission of the CBME is to provide an effective organization for research and training in a strong multi-disciplinary environment. Thus, the CBME combines engineering, imaging and computer sciences with molecular and cellular biology and clinical sciences in order to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and to foster research in the rapidly growing discipline of Biomedical Engineering. To accomplish its mission, the CBME has developed state-of-the-art core facilities that foster a broad range of multidisciplinary research with emphasis in biomedical imaging, laser and spectroscopy, optical sensing and monitoring, neuroengineering and sensing, biomedical applications of nanotechnology, confocal and multi-photon imaging, biomechanics, an artificial lung program, and molecular cytometry.

Research Support Services

Moody Medical Library

The Library is housed in a modern five-story building and centrally located on the UTMB campus, is the oldest medical library in Texas and one of the largest medical research libraries in the Southwest. Construction of the Library began March 1969, and was completed in March 1972. The Library is committed to the advancement of education, research, patient care and public service programs of the University by obtaining, applying and disseminating biomedical information and the tools for its management and use, and has implemented electronic networks and information technologies to achieve a high technology vision of the twenty-first century academic medical library. The library occupies 48,736 net sq. ft., has a seating capacity of 579, and offers 160 public computer workstations. There are 8 library faculty and 30 support staff allowing it to be open 97 hours per week, and the library collection size when last inventoried on August 31 2009 consisted of 263,588 print volumes, 97,649 monographs, 18,374 rare books, and 2,323 current and serial subscriptions. There are 4,000 additional titles on microfilm and 3,034 on audiovisual media. Borrowed interlibrary loan items have totaled over 8,446. The library also provides access to the following databases through the web: Medline, AIDS line, Healthstar, CINAHL, Ovid nursing collection, Psyc. Info., Health and Psychosocial instruments, MAXX, Stat !-Ref, Web of Science, and Textline.

Research Services - Office of Research Education

The Office of Research Education is in the Office of the Dean, School of Medicine, ORE offers a variety training and education programs related to research services and other sponsored project activities and provides to the UTMB community help in identifying funding sources and other information useful in the grant development process through our Research Funding Library. These goals are accomplished by providing workshops on current rules, regulations, policies, procedures and program guidelines, training for use of all research services, video conferences pertinent to UTMB's research mission, development of education programs for research facilitation, Research Funding Library activities, including funding opportunities, and information resources.

Office of Biostatistics (OBIOS)

The Office of Biostatistics (OBIOS) provides statistical support services to all UTMB faculty, staff and students. Areas of expertise include design support (power calculations, sample size determinations, and identification of appropriate methods to minimize experimental error, and to collect, summarize and analyze data), data management (development of data collection techniques/ instruments, data entry screens, and data editing and error checking programs), and data analysis (application of appropriate methods to allow valid statistical inferences). Developmental procedures include quantitative research that will produce improved methods and procedures to collect, manage, analyze and interpret biomedical data. OBIOS provides expert and technical support for the computer package SAS®, a statistical application with extensive data management capabilities. The SAS system is maintained on the UTMB IBM mainframe and accessed through personal computers throughout campus. In addition to statistical support, OBIOS provides technical assistance in adapting or creating questionnaires and survey instruments and in the training of operational personnel.

Office of Post-Doctoral Affairs (OPA)

Prior to the opening of Office of Post-Doctoral Affairs (OPA), the Organization of Postdoctoral Scientists (OPS) at UTMB had existed, with its members supporting and initiating a variety of career development events and social activities for the postdoctoral community at UTMB. Administratively, the OPS represents the postdoctoral community to the administration and Office of Postdoctoral Education, and its president is a member of the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee. However, the GSBS demonstrated a further commitment to the development, research, and educational support of post-doctoral trainees at UTMB, by opening the OPA in 2009 with a campus-wide faculty advisory committee comprised of 9 faculty, an active and present director (Joanna Bremmer), and an administrative coordinator, under the auspices of the Vice President and Dean of the GSBS, Dr. Cary Cooper. The OPA provides contact for all UTMB post-doctoral trainees with the National Postdoc Association, as well as valuable additional research training with semester-long courses. The GSBS also offers certificate credit for postdoctoral scientists at UTMB. The certificates and the courses leading up to them carry credits that will be reported on transcripts available through the UTMB Office of the Registrar. The UTMB Provost requires all first- and second-year postdoctoral scholars to enroll in the certificate program by Fall 2010; and all additional postdocs to be in the program by Fall 2011. Courses in the certificate program provide training in core competencies, as well as specialized training that scientists require for professional success. As of Fall 2010, four certificates are available. The core certificate is Critical Research Skills. Secondary certificates are available in focused career areas: Management Skills, Teaching and Mentoring, and Translational Research. Each certificate requires 12 semester credit hours and may be earned in a one-year (three-term) course of study. The certificates are structured for maximum flexibility, both for course sequencing and time management. Many courses are offered at times that do not conflict with laboratory schedules, so that participants may give full attention to their learning.

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