Current Status Report - September 2011
Text in red denotes new activity since previous status report.

Build on the reputation and academic excellence of the Program in Biology with a new Brown-hospital research facility, the targeted recruitment of new faculty, and enhanced support for graduate studies

Action Taken

  • Created new multidisciplinary centers and programs involving faculty in the biology departments: Center for Genomics and Proteomics, Center for Computational Molecular Biology, the Brain Science Program, and the Environmental Change Initiative
  • Authorized up to 21 new faculty lines; recruited 18 incremental faculty since inception of Plan for Academic Enrichment
  • Dedicated, in October 2006, the 169,000-square-foot Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences, providing laboratory, office, and teaching space for the life sciences and housing 39 faculty members from the departments of Neuroscience and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry
  • Purchased, renovated, and occupied 70 Ship Street to accommodate researchers in the departments of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine– 105,000 square feet of first-class research and teaching space; named Laboratories for Molecular Medicine
  • Acquired major new core equipment facilities (3T MRI and a mass spectrometer) for neuroscience research
  • Commissioned external review of undergraduate biology program
  • Acquired an $11.5 million grant from the NIH for a Superfund Basic Research Program
  • Received a federal appropriation of $1M for the Center for Recovery from Trauma
  • Initiated process of streamlined Institutional Review Board review for projects conducted at the affiliated hospitals and at Brown
  • Created specialized brochures, Web site, and recruitment outreach initiatives through Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Established databases for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to enhance communications and track training progress and funding
  • Established a comprehensive, integrated database to track course budgets, enrollments, and teaching assistants in the basic biological sciences curriculum
  • Established centralized professional development programming specifically for graduate and postdoctoral trainees
  • Commissioned a task force to evaluate use of teaching assistants and other instructional support by faculty teaching division courses
  • Appointed Edward Hawrot as associate dean for the program in biology, effective July 2007
  • Issued a request for proposals to solicit broad-based faculty input on prospective areas of future research investment and collaboration
  • Implemented a new “Incentivization Initiative” to reward faculty productivity and reinvest in biological research
  • Focused 2008–09 faculty recruitments on funded investigators (including several junior faculty) with a focus on translational science in areas including genetics and biomedical engineering
  • An NIH S10 shared instrumentation award was made to Gary Wessel in the amount of $500,000. The Illumina Genome Analyzer IIA was purchased, installed, and is now operational and has been used continuously since installation
  • Hired a full-time Bioinformatics Analyst (Lingsheng Dong) to provide bioinformatics support for the data being obtained with the Illumina Genome Analyzer. Illumina software was successfully installed in the CCV IBM computer system which is now being used by BioMed faculty for analysis of their genome sequence data
  • A new NIH NIGMS T32 graduate program training grant in molecular pharmacology and physiology was awarded (E. Hawrot, PI) for five years of support with a July start date
  • Continued success with our graduate students competing very successfully for individual fellowships from NIH, NSF, Fullbright, etc.
  • Major training grants:
    • GAANN Grant: Interdisciplinary Training in Applications and Implications of Nanotechnology to support predoctoral students who will pursue interdisciplinary research and teaching in the applications and implications of nanotechnology;
    • GAANN Grant: Ph.D. Training in Pathobiology of Infectious Disease and Host Response, to support Ph.D. students with training that prepares them for research and/or teaching intensive careers in the field of disease-based studies;
    • T32 Grant Renewed: Interdisciplinary Pre-doctoral Neuroscience Training Program, to support pre-doctoral students during their training in Neuroscience
    • IGERT: Reverse Ecology; Computational Integration of Genomes, Organisms, and Environment, to support pre-doctoral training in Reverse Ecology, the application of genomic approaches to living systems to uncover the genetic bases of functional variation in nature
  • A second illumina sequencer was purchased with funds from an EPSCoR grant, Lifespan, and the BioMed Division in equal parts
  • David Rand, Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology has assumed a leadership role in the multi-disciplinary Center for Computational Molecular Biology.  CCMB’s central mission is to make breakthrough discoveries in the life sciences at the molecular and cellular level through the creative application of existing data analytic methods, and the development of novel computational, mathematical, and statistical technologies required to exploit the opportunities emerging from advance in genomics and proteomics
  • Recruited 2 new faculty: Chris Moore into Neuroscience, and Nicola Neretti into M.C.B.

Action Needed

  • Plan the targeted recruitment of new faculty of exceptional scientific merit into priority “Center of Excellence” research initiatives targeting areas such as cancer, biomedical engineering, cardiovascular science, personalized medicine/genomics, and a planned CTSA grant
  • Plan for a significant new Jewelry District-based research facility in collaboration with Brown’s hospital partners
  • Increase sponsored funding at a rate exceeding the annual NIH appropriation growth rate through organic (i.e., with existing faculty) and acquisitive (strategic faculty recruitment) growth

Responsible

  • Associate Dean for the Program in Biology
  • Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
  • Provost

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