National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Center for Biomedical Research Excellence
Puerto Rico Center for Neuroplasticity
Program Director: Dr. José A. Lasalde

The Puerto Rico Center for Neuroplasticity (PRCN), a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE, NIH NIGMS), will significantly strengthen the research infrastructure of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and will impact biomedical investigation throughout the island. The specific aims of this COBRE are to: 1) Foster development of junior investigators into competitive researchers working on projects with direct biomedical significance. An intensive mentoring program will be implemented with the goal of creating a “culture of research” comparable to that of major research-intensive universities. 2) Provide a NeuroImaging and Electrophysiology Facility (NIEF) that will offer state-of-the-art instrumentation, training, and expertise to the neuroscience community of Puerto Rico. The NIEF will be located in the Institute of Neurobiology, but will incorporate ultra high-end instrumentation in the new Biomolecular Sciences Building (BSB) after the COBRE has become well-established at the Institute; 3) Partner with IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) entities in Puerto Rico; 4) Support programmatic activities that increase interdisciplinary collaborations at the basic research level. The major strengths of the proposed COBRE include: 1) the PI, who is both an accomplished researcher with extensive funding and advisory activities within the NIH, and an experienced administrator with a history of successful initiation of research and training programs; 2) the team of young, aggressive and highly committed scientists; 3) enhanced mentorship possibilities provided by the current level of intellectual and scientific accomplishment present at the Institute of Neurobiology; 3) rational planning for the future by deployment of the new BSB as a centralized hub for integrated and collaborative research in the future of the COBRE Center for Neuroplasticity; 4) the full commitment of the UPR Administration toward assuring the stated goals of the project. This Puerto Rico Center for Neuroplasticity COBRE should define pathways and benchmarks for basic and translational research across the UPR system for the next decades.