In addition to pursuing research in the domain of plasticity, the overarching aims of the CNAP COBRE center are to:
1. Develop independent, high impact and high quality research projects that will promote R01 or comparable award success for COBRE project leaders. Four projects, three at Kansas State University and one at Wichita State University will work towards achieving this goal. Two projects examine cognitive and neurobiological aging in humans with a goal of promoting healthy aging and maintenance of everyday abilities. Two further projects examine the neurobiology of reward and decision in rodent models to better understand factors involved in neuronal plasticity in the reward and decision pathways.
2. Expand the capability to pursue research in cognitive/neural plasticity through targeted hiring of new CNAP members. New faculty and post-doctoral recruits at Kansas State and Wichita State Universities will expand CNAP research capabilities and will ensure sustenance and growth of the center, as well as enrichment of the research climate.
3. Expand and improve research infrastructure through expanding/developing three multi-user core laboratory facilities. Facility developments include modernizing and expanding functionality of the Behavioral Neuroscience core at Kansas State University, developing a new Driving Simulator core at Wichita State University, and building a new Neuroinformatics core at Kansas State University. The cores will provide direct support for the primary projects, pilot grants, and other CNAP programs and will be available for use by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students for conducting research within the CNAP domain. The cores will promote synergy and cohesiveness by directly supporting the cross-cutting research theme development which is designed to enhance collaborative research bridging animal model and human translational research on common cognitive and neurobiological processes.
4. Enhance the research climate and productivity of CNAP center members through strengthening and expanding our scientific exchange network. This program will provide faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students with access to core facilities and training that will increase their capability to secure extramural funding. The Scientific Exchange Network will increase the connections of Kansas State and Wichita State with nearby universities and other neuroscience COBRE centers. As a part of the program, we will host joint mini-conferences for showcasing CNAP research, sharing research with major figures in relevant fields, disseminating research across the network and sparking further synergy and collaboration across institutions.
Our goal is to develop a thriving thematic research center that will greatly advance the understanding of neural and cognitive mechanisms of plasticity. CNAP will attract substantial extramural funding, provide a pathway to independent extramural center grant funding, and promote a rich research climate at Kansas State, Wichita State, and our partner institutions.