From its initial funding from NICHD in 2005, the NCMRR-DC Core has provided technical services and training in three sub-cores (Genetics/Genomics, Proteomics, and Statistical Genetics & Bioinformatics) to 108 principal investigators in 32 institutions, with processing and analysis of >4,500 samples. Didactic and outreach efforts included >3,500 hrs of on-site training of external investigators, 95 invited lectures on topics relevant to medical rehabilitation, and organization of workshops to write and disseminate standard operating procedures for functional outcome measures. Through extensive investments in rehabilitation medicine by Children’s National Health System, two additional rehabilitation research services with an emphasis on functional outcome measures have been designed and implemented: murine functional outcomes core (drug screening in neuromuscular models) and human functional outcomes core (CINRG group). A query of the rehab research community has documented the need for technical assistance and training in both murine and human functional outcome measures, and these pre-existing resources are now added as an fourth sub-core within our proposed NCMRR-DC (Functional Outcomes).
The NCMRR-DC Core and the four sub-cores are wholly contained within the Department of Genomics and Precision Medicine, and the Research Center for Genetic Medicine (GenMed) at Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C. All participating faculty and personnel hold primary appointments in GenMed, and the commensurate Department of Genomics and Precision Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The PI of the NCMRR-DC Core, Dr. Hoffman, is also Chair of the host Department, and Director of the GenMed Center, ensuring full administrative and organizational support.
Aim 1. Provide services and training in molecular and clinical outcome measures to medical rehabilitation researchers. All services are provided with charge-back for reagent costs. As with the previous award, we offer services with no charge for technical support, equipment, software, training, data interpretation, and public access.
- Aim 1A. Provide Genetics and Genomics support. Services, data interpretation, and training include genotyping, GWAS, mRNA profiling, microRNA profiling, and qRT-PCR.
- Aim 1B. Provide Proteomics support. Services, data interpretation and training include state-of-the-art proteomics methods and applications with the emphasis of monitoring functional outcomes at the molecular level. Methods include quantitative proteomics, biomarkers discovery, posttranslational modifications of proteins, protein-protein interaction and drug effects on proteomes.
- Aim 1C. Provide Statistical Genetics and Bioinformatics support. Services, data interpretation, and training include gene x environment x phenotype associations, GWAS associations, microarray and proteomics data interpretation (GeneSpring, Ingenuity, Partek, proteomics software, and in house software tools), and databasing with public access.
- Aim 1D. Provide Functional Outcome support, both pre-clinical (murine) and clinical (human). Services, data interpretation and training include the Murine Drug Screening Core, and CINRG outcomes research group (http://www.cinrgresearch.org).
Aim 2. Provide a Pilot Studies mechanism for assistance with project costs. From 2005-2009, $325,390 in pilot project support was provided to 19 projects, with an initial review by the Internal Steering Committee (50% success rate), and subsequent NIH Program Officer review (further 50% success rate) (overall, 1 in 4 applicants funded). Projects are screened for relevance to medical rehabilitation research, potential impact on the field, and likelihood of leading to further research funding support. Ongoing support of pilot studies is at a level of about $100,000/yr. For information on application for pilot funding, please contact Eric Hoffman and Susan Knoblach.
Aim 3. Provide ongoing evaluations of the function of the NCMRR-DC Core, prospectively assess the needs of the medical rehabilitation research community, and implement new technologies through user surveys and feedback of the External Advisory Board. An expert External Advisory Board, including leaders in medical rehabilitation research, has met for three face-to-face meetings over the previous award period, and provided excellent feedback on serving the medical rehabilitation research community. A survey of over 100 rehabilitation researchers has been conducted, and anticipated needs defined. These meetings and surveys will continue over the new award period, with implementation of new core technologies and services as the community demands.