Our Arduous Research Journey from Preeclampsia to Alzheimer's Disease - Report from the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Reproductive Health
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Our Arduous Research Journey from Preeclampsia to Alzheimer’s Disease – Report from the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Reproductive Health

This article is contributed by the COBRE for Reproductive Health. The programmatic and scientific goals of this COBRE support a multidisciplinary, translational, and innovative program in women’s reproductive health. The research projects focus on using pre-clinical and human models to understand mechanisms of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, IVF pregnancies, and the application of contemporary computational approaches to identify the networks and pathways underlying these devastating pregnancy complications.

We discuss how novel observations emanating from the preeclampsia project can be leveraged to understand chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Proteinopathy is a hallmark feature of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD.

We recently reported that preeclampsia (PE), a severe pregnancy complication, is another prevalent proteinopathy disorder in a younger population. This review provides a comprehensive discussion on shared etiology between PE and AD, establishing a novel blood test for their prediction and diagnosis, and a novel therapeutic option for these disorders.

RI-INBRE: A Statewide NIH Program Grant to Improve Institutional Biomedical Research Capacity in Rhode Island

The overarching goal of the Rhode Island-IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE) is to improve institutional capacity for biomedical research excellence and expand student experiential training opportunities in the State of Rhode Island. RI-INBRE comprises five major core components: The Administrative Core, the Bioinformatics Core, the Centralized Research Core Facility, the Training Core, and the Developmental Research Project Program Core.

Since its inception in 2001, RI-INBRE has made significant investments and marked advancements in the biomedical research infrastructure of Rhode Island. RI-INBRE funding has increased the scale and quality of faculty research and engaged undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in structured and mentored research training experiences. Over the last 19 years, RI-INBRE has supported 212 faculty researchers and over 533 projects and has provided research-training opportunities for nearly 2,000 students, resulting in 757 publications.

Through its student-training program, RI-INBRE has contributed to regional workforce development by engaging students and encouraging them to pursue careers in biomedical fields. Many of these students have been admitted to graduate or medical schools and obtained biomedical industry jobs following graduation. RI-INBRE has been particularly influential in building the research infrastructure at primarily undergraduate institutions, which have seen significant improvements in research quality and output, student training, and research infrastructure.


Our Arduous Research Journey from Preeclampsia to Alzheimer's Disease - Report from the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Reproductive Health

Zebrafish as an animal model for biomedical research

Zebrafish have several advantages compared to other vertebrate models used in modeling human diseases, particularly for large-scale genetic mutant and therapeutic compound screenings, and other biomedical research applications. With the impactful developments of CRISPR and next-generation sequencing technology, disease modeling in zebrafish is accelerating the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of human genetic diseases. These efforts are fundamental for the future of precision medicine because they provide new diagnostic and therapeutic solutions. This review focuses on zebrafish disease models for biomedical research, mainly in developmental disorders, mental disorders, and metabolic diseases.

Chemical Design of Nanozymes for Biomedical Applications

With the advancement of nanochemistry, artificial nanozymes with high catalytic stability, low manufacturing and storage cost, and greater design flexibility over natural enzymes, have emerged as a next-generation nanomedicine. The catalytic activity and selectivity of nanozymes can be readily controlled and optimized by the rational chemical design of nanomaterials. This review summarizes the various chemical approaches to regulate the catalytic activity and selectivity of nanozymes for biomedical applications.

We focus on the in-depth correlation between the physicochemical characteristics and catalytic activities of nanozymes from several aspects, including regulating chemical composition, controlling morphology, altering the size, surface modification and self-assembly. Furthermore, the chemically designed nanozymes for various biomedical applications such as biosensing, infectious disease therapy, cancer therapy, neurodegenerative disease therapy and injury therapy, are briefly summarized. Finally, the current challenges and future perspectives of nanozymes are discussed from a chemistry point of view.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: As a kind of nanomaterials that performs enzyme-like properties, nanozymes perform high catalytic stability, low manufacturing and storage cost, attracting the attention of researchers from various fields. Notably, chemically designed nanozymes with robust catalytic activity, tunable specificity and multi-functionalities are promising for biomedical applications. It’s crucial to define the correlation between the physicochemical characteristics and catalytic activities of nanozymes. To help readers understand this rapidly expanding field, in this review, we summarize various chemical approaches that regulate the catalytic activity and selectivity of nanozymes together with the discussion of related mechanisms, followed by the introduction of diverse biomedical applications using these chemically well-designed nanozymes. Hopefully our review will bridge the chemical design and biomedical applications of nanozymes, supporting the extensive research on high-performance nanozymes.

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Immune-Based Interventions Against Infectious Disease – Impact of a Phase I Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Translational Infectious Diseases Immunology

In 2011, faculty from the University of Rhode Island (URI)’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics and Lifespan’s Center for International Health Research collaborated to develop a successful application for a Phase I Center of Biomedical Research Excellence around the scientific theme of translational infectious diseases immunology. From 2013 to 2020, this COBRE supported significant discoveries in research on dengue, HIV, and malaria, among other diseases, and facilitated the career development of several independent Rhode Island (RI)-based early-stage investigators. Our experience illustrates both the potential and challenges for investigators with shared scientific interests to leverage the NIH COBRE program to enhance cross-institutional interactions.

I work in biotech research on stem cells

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