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For Immediate Release
January 18, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Rich Schneider, 317-278-4564

19 IUPUI Signature Center Proposals Receive $7 Million in Funding

INDIANAPOLIS - IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties Uday Sukhatme has announced the proposals to be funded under the Signature Center initiative.

"This initiative is intended to take IUPUI's research effort to a much higher level by helping to create a significant number of Signature Centers which will stand out like skyscrapers over the surrounding landscape," Sukhatme said.

Such structures need support and the Signature Center initiative is designed to provide approximately $7 million of flexible money over the next three years (equally shared between the central administration and the academic units), he said.

A signature center is a research unit distinctly identifiable with IUPUI. In addition to representing an area of research strength, the center will usually build on some ongoing activities and have many of the following attributes:

  • Signature centers will often be interdisciplinary in character. They should have the capacity to attract significant external funding appropriate to the disciplines involved, including federal grants and foundation support. The centers need to bring academic distinction to the campus. After an initial period of campus-based seed funding, they should become largely self-sufficient in a 3 to 5 year time frame.
  • The work of the center should have something unique and distinctive, which makes it stand out. It should not focus on an area commonly studied at many other universities, although collaborations with other institutions could be a desirable feature.
  • The center should engage in work which takes advantage of the urban location in Indianapolis and establish partnerships with local community and cultural organizations.

A total of 71 proposals were submitted for review. They were judged on academic merit and the above described criteria for determining whether a proposal had the potential to reach Signature Center status. Other aspects, such as the scholarly track records of the faculty investigators and the planned use of budget, were also taken into consideration.

Submitted Proposals: The number of proposals coming from various schools were as follows: Medicine 21; Science, Engineering 8; Liberal Arts 7; Art, Dentistry, Informatics, Law 3; Public and Environmental Affairs, Social Work 2; Music, Nursing, Health and Rehabilitation Services, Education, University Library, University College, Business 1. Non-teaching units contributed 4 proposals.

A second round of funding for Signature Centers is anticipated next year.

The 19 proposals funded in the first round are given below.

Center for Assessing, Understanding and Managing Pain This center will enhance pain research, foster a culture of interaction, and promote collaboration among researchers across several IUPUI Schools and existing centers to stimulate new approaches to address pain. To this end, the center's goals include: to develop a comprehensive pain research agenda that brings our findings to the clinic or bedside as quickly as possible; to increase visibility for pain research within the IUPUI campus and broader community of scientists, clinicians, policy makers, and patient advocacy groups; and to create key partnerships between other academic institutions, professional organizations, and private industry to share resources and create research synergy.

Center for Earth and Environmental Science This center will become a leader in scholarship and teaching about water quality and health. It is poised to make rapid and substantial impacts that will propel water resources research and training at IUPUI onto a state and national stage. The center will also create an integrated program which applies innovative scientific discovery to current and emerging threats to water resources in Central Indiana, the Midwest, and beyond.

Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine This center has three missions: multidisciplinary research aimed at understanding how to regenerate tissues, organs and appendages damaged by injury or disease; provide advanced academic training in regenerative biology and medicine leading to the MS and PhD degrees; and technology transfer. The unique feature of this center is that it is the only such multidisciplinary center in the world to include amphibians as research models to understand regenerative mechanisms.

Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture This center is a research and public outreach institute devoted to promoting a better understanding of the relation between religion and other aspects of American culture. Established in 1989 with start-up funds from Lilly Endowment, the center is based in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Now with over forty Research Fellows, the center is considered the premier research institute in the nation working in American religious studies.

Cellular Therapy, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Center This center will draw on the unique expertise in hematopoiesis, immunology, gene therapy, graft engineering, and clinical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation available at IUPUI to develop a nationally and internationally visible Program focused on the development of novel cellular therapies for cancer. The scholars in the center envision an interdisciplinary approach that brings together the collaboration of basic and clinical scientists at IUPUI, focused on translating discoveries from bench-to-clinic through phase I and early phase II clinical trials.

Center for Family Violence Prevention, Education and Research The academic focus of this center will be the tripartite academic model of research, education, and service. It will provide seed funding for researchers with novel approaches on how to assess, study, prevent, and manage family abuse, targeting abusers and victims alike. The faculty participants in the center will hold local and national research meetings on these issues and provide the infrastructure for growing the research base in this area. The center will be grounded in a major health and socials problem but not in any single professional discipline, creating the opportunity to construct a remarkably multidisciplinary center that will attract faculty and students from many schools on campus.

Randall L. Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence This is a major new academic center at IUPUI. It was founded on May 10, 2004 with a gift of $5.25 million. It is headquartered and managed by the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI. The center has inaugurated a range of programs including: Hoosier Fellows Program, Tobias Graduate Fellows, Tobias Lecture, Semler Lecture, Hazelett Forum, Tobias Chair, Tobias Faculty Fellows, and the Oral History Project.

Renewable Energy Center The primary objective of this center will be to promote research excellence in the area of renewable energy through the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology and the development of renewable hydrogen production technologies. To reach this goal the center will promote collaboration among faculty members from engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, and environmental affairs. The center will be built upon the basis of the current Advanced Energy Lab but will expand the activities to multidiscipline and multi-school. In addition to excellence in research, the center will also serve as a focal point for student and public education and civic engagement in the renewable energy area.

Service Learning Research Collaborative The mission of this center will be to increase the capacity of IUPUI faculty to engage in research on service learning practice, initially on three themes: international service learning; assessing outcomes; and retention of first-year and minority students. The center will also convene internal and external service learning scholars to develop new conceptual frameworks and methodological tools to improve the quality of service learning research.

PREGMED: Pharmacogenetics and Therapeutics Research This unique center's central goal will be to improve the therapy of health problems related to both women and their unborn children using a personalized medicine approach that builds on the strength of this medical center in the area of neonatology coupled with the cutting edge science of pharmacogenomics. The center's activities will focus on developing new paradigms for the treatment of the following important conditions: nausea and vomiting of pregnancy; depression; preterm labor; preeclampsia and hypertensive disorders.

Center for Advanced Studies in Hearing, Perception and Language This center will follow an interdisciplinary approach to study the effects of hearing loss on perception abilities, communication skills, and neural auditory processing across the lifespan. This center is comprised of four distinct research laboratories (i.e., the Infant Language Laboratory, the DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory, the Phonological Systems Laboratory and the Electrophysiology Laboratory) thereby allowing for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of hearing, perception and language. These laboratories integrate knowledge and methodologies from different disciplines to study communication in hearing-impaired individuals across a lifespan of development from infancy to adulthood and aging.

Institute for Research on Social Issues This center will enable the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI to put in place an infrastructure to fully support social research. By intentionally fostering the synergy of interdisciplinary, collaborative inquiry and providing for the scholarly sharing and public dissemination of research results, the center will raise the profile of social research at IUPUI, enhance the potential for financial support, and serve as a platform from which to generate and apply knowledge addressing social issues locally, nationally, and internationally.

Binational/Cross-Cultural Health Enhancement Center This center will have an academic focus on research on binational health issues of recent immigrants to the state of Indiana and of the rural communities in Mexico from where those immigrants come. Specifically, the center will focus its efforts on oral health and nutrition including behaviors and social determinants of health in those two areas and related conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Research initiatives will be in the following areas: dental, medical, nursing, socio-behavioral sciences and public health. The overall goal of the center is to understand the web of interactions across biological, cultural, behavioral and demographic domains and to advance knowledge in these areas with real-life, practical applications to the future of the State of Indiana.

Center for Cancer, Genetics and the Environment This center will develop a world-class research program that provides a core faculty of epidemiologists who can capitalize on the campus existing strengths in environmental health and medical genetics. The center came about from ongoing discussion between the Indiana University Cancer Center and the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics. The faculty have identified an opportunity to build a unique program that can leverage the strengths of existing research efforts into a independent, interactive research center with the goal of understanding how genetic and environmental factors interact to cause human cancer. This center will serve as the focal point to enhance the interaction of existing programs in the Center for Environmental Health, the Indiana University Cancer Center and the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics.

Tobacco Cessation and Biobehavioral Center This center will bring researchers together from different disciplines to better understand the mechanisms and biology of the effects of tobacco use, as well its control, prevention, and cessation. The research of the center will encompass multiple disciplines involving basic tobacco-related biological research, behavioral research, civic engagement, and teaching and learning. The center will also focus on ways to eliminate or reduce minority health disparities related to tobacco use in order to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco by minorities, low income individuals, the chemically addicted, pregnant women, children, youth, and other at risk populations with tobacco-related health issues.

IUPUI Center for Mathematical Biosciences This will serve as an umbrella center for spearheading research and programmatic activities in the general bio-mathematics area. This center will provide an integrated structure for effective collaborative work as the interface between the mathematical sciences and the life and health sciences communities on the IUPUI campus, which will result in higher national and international visibility and increased research excellence in this area of the university. This center will cover a number of health and life-sciences related mathematics research, with strong emphasis on mathematical modeling, computations and data analysis.

Center for Computational Diagnostics This center's innovative research includes the integration of high throughput technology into clinical trials to improve early detection, treatment, and monitoring of diseases in children and adults. Building on the Regenstrief Institute and leveraging the diverse strengths of IUPUI, the IU School of Medicine, and Purdue, the center will bring "data and minds together," that is, integrate data and create project-specific multi-disciplinary teams to work with these data, achieving progress in both basic and clinical research that is increasingly difficult to achieve by individual investigator-driven research teams.

Consortium for Health Policy, Law, Bioethics This consortium creates an innovation and dynamic environment to facilitate research, education, and public policy service on issues in health care, health and science policy, and the life sciences. The consortium's mission is to provide an innovative, interdisciplinary organizational environment that enhances existing IUPUI/IU capacity in health policy, law and bioethics. The consortium strives to inform social and public policy in health, facilitate cross-cutting interdisciplinary research, and support current and developing degree and certificate programs.

Center for Excellence in Bio-Computing This center will seamlessly integrate multiple disciplines (e.g., Computer Science, Biology, Medicine, and Informatics) and leverage existing research and educational initiatives on the campus to provide a strong foundation for investigations of various aspects of Bio-Computing. The center's objective is to bring these groups together under a common collaborative umbrella to help them augment each other's expertise to create new energy and breakthroughs, and to establish an infrastructure that enables the expansion of Bio-Computing research to benefit the entire IU life science community.