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The Center of Excellence in Oral and Craniofacial Biology
Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)

LSU School of Dentistry Awarded NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Grant
The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded LSU School of Dentistry a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant. The $10.7 million grant, extending from September 2004 through July 2009, is the largest grant ever received at LSUSD, and also one of the largest in the LSU Health Sciences Center system.

General Information
The grant is entitled "Mentoring Oral Health Research in Louisiana." The theme is "Oral Infectious Diseases." The intent of the grant is to develop junior faculty in the School of Dentistry into independent researchers. There are five faculty members who have written peer-reviewed projects, along with a mentoring plan written by the principal investigator, Dr. Paul Fidel.

COBRE Projects
Each project focuses on a particular disease or infection that afflicts children and/or adults, including the HIV+ population. The COBRE grant requires that each project have a principal investigator (the junior faculty member)and also a network of mentors guiding that PI. Each project is structured with two separate degrees of mentors.

There are three cores in the COBRE program to assist the JPIs. They are administrative, biomedical equipment, and statistical cores. Each has a different role and is led by a JPI.

External Advisory Committee
The COBRE grant also requires the use of an External Advisory Committee. This committee, made up of professionals from around the country, comes to LSU every six months to monitor the progress of the COBRE and submit a report.

COBRE Programs/Mentoring Plan
The mentoring/training component of the COBRE is the most critical to the program and the most important for the success of the JPIs. The general plan includes mentoring activities by the primary and secondary mentors, a communication infrastructure and didactic training lectures. This general plan is similar overall to our original submission, but has been refined according to the suggestions from the previous review.

Research Training Lecture Series/Statistical Core Didactic Series
Another area of the scientific development of the JPIs a Clinical Research Training Lecture Series given by faculty from the dental or medical schools. There is also periodically a Bio Statistical Didactic Series given by members of the Statistical Core.

Clinical Research Training Lecture Series
These lectures took place bi-weekly for the first full semester of their tenure in the program. The intent was to provide some intense training in the area of clinical research while they are in the process of setting up their laboratories. Topics included: a general course in clinical research, biostatistics, equipment resources, HIPAA, progress reports/presentations, research ethics, technology transfer, epidemiology, human subjects (IRB) and animal care (IACUC), clinical trials, and grant writing. The mentors were asked to participate in as many sessions as possible and were the actual lecturers in some cases.

Economic Impact
The economic impact of the COBRE grant is extensive. It has contributed:

  • Nine new jobs in the dental school
  • Partial salaries for 21 current LSUHSC faculty and staff
  • Research support for up to 11 faculty (new and existing)
  • $850,000 for new scientific equipment
  • $400,000 for laboratory renovations

Overall Significance
The COBRE grant is significant for many reasons. In addition to being the largest grant ever received at the School of Dentistry, LSUSD is the only dental school in the state, and therefore the only resource for promoting oral health research in Louisiana. From that perspective, the grant allows LSUSD to not only develop junior faculty into independent researchers, but also to conduct cutting-edge research in the area of oral health.

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Last Update 6/2009