With credit to the timeless film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, and full knowledge that I am dating myself, I am “Singing in the Rain”. We have done so much together in such a short time to stimulate research at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, that you can’t help enjoy the current and impending rain. Here are only a few items that make the point.
With the masterful work of Dr. Matt Ennis and the rest of the Research Space Committee, we now have the UTHSC Allocation of Research Space Plan. This plan contains not only metrics, but how, when, and by whom they should be applied to fairly and thoughtfully best utilize the resource of laboratory space. The plan was vetted by the Faculty Senate and Research Counsel; and Chancellor Schwab accepted the plan and asked me to implement it as our new space policy on April 21, 2016.
To improve the functional and financial overusing of the UTHSC Research Cores, I appointed Dr. Tiffany Seagroves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Cores. I held a meeting of my VCRs Research Cabinet to discuss which of our current cores should be considered Institutional Cores. The Institutional Research Cores are defined as widely used by researchers that cross UTHSC colleges (or will be for new cores), and in the future, campuses, and are financially supported by the institution. It was decided that seven cores met this definition: Lab Animal Care Unit (LACU); the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL); the Molecular Resource Center (MRC); the Flow Cytometry and Flow Sorting core (FCCS); the Molecular Bioinformatics Core (MBC); the Proteomics and Metabolomics Core (PMS); and the Research Histology core (RHC). Dr. Seagroves then led a group in the Office of Research that prepared business plans and FY17-FY19 budgets for each core. We are putting the UTHSC research cores on firm ground.
With wonderful leadership by Dr. Rob Williams and Dean Wendy Likes, the Operational Strategic Plan for Research Committee is busy writing a plan which will serve as a roadmap for UTHSC Research for the next five years. The six Areas of Excellence within the plan, in no particular order, are: Cancer; Obesity, Diabetes, and Vascular Disease; Disorders of the Nervous System; Respiratory Disorders; Precision Medicine; and Health Outcomes. The underlying theme of this Operational Strategic Plan for Research is that we will be stronger as a Health Science Center if we build teams of interdisciplinary researchers who cross colleges and campuses, and work together on research programs within these Areas of Excellence and their specified Focus Areas.
A step in the direction of promoting these interdisciplinary teams, that cross college and campus, was my creation of the UTHSC Collaborative Research Network with the accompanying CORNET Awards that are described on page one of this Research Rainmaker. I was truly overwhelmed by the response to our first Phase 1 Request for Applications. We received 48 applications. Wow! Clearly our UTHSC faculty are all in on this concept and I could not be happier. We all need to thank Chancellor Steve Schwab for supplying the support needed to make this a reality.
So, to all my friends and colleagues at UTHSC; get out your umbrellas and join me in “Singing in the Rain.”
-Steven R. Goodman, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research