Marsico Lung Institute/UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center
The Marsico Lung Institute (MLI)/UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center (CF Center) has a rich tradition of collaboration. It exhibits a wide scope but “thin” coverage of the scientific areas relevant to CF. In brief, we typically have recruited only one or two experts in a given field, but have attempted to use our large numbers of investigators to cover a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines required to tackle CF research in a collaborative and efficient fashion.
There are many key areas of CF research that require such collaborative interactions (see Table 1). The Hooker UNC Proteomics gift ($25 M) has spurred an extra CF Center collaborative effort at UNC, termed the Virtual Lung Project (VLP). The VLP has allowed us to bring a unique group of physicists, applied mathematicians, and physical chemists into the world of CF research. One measure of the outcome of the collaborative efforts at UNC is the large number of multi-authored publications that can be observed in the overall UNC bibliography. Another measure of our collaborative efforts is the number of NIH multi investigator grants awarded to the UNC CF Center, including a Program Project based in the CF Center [Pulmonary Epithelia in Health and Disease (HL34322)], a PPG shared between the UNC MLI and the Gene Therapy Center [Gene Therapy of Airways and Hematopoietic Diseases (HL51818, HL66973)], a Molecular Therapeutics Translational Core Grant (DK65988), a multi-investigator systems biology grant for the Virtual Lung Group (HL077546), collaborative R01s on gene modifiers between UNC and Case Western (HL68890) and UNC and Columbia University (DK66368), and on CFTR biogenesis between UNC and Scripps (DK051870), and, finally, a SCCOR focused on comparing host defense in CF vs. COPD subjects (HL084934).
An important facilitator of CF translational research at UNC is the Clinical and Translational Science Award. The CTSA provides not only the clinical translational facilities for CF translational research at UNC, but also >$2,000,000/year in Pilot Grant and Core Facility support. The CF Center Director is one of four co-PIs for the UNC CTSA.
In sum, collaborative efforts are certainly not unique to the UNC CF Center. However, we believe the UNC CF Center has recruited an extraordinarily broad scope of talented basic scientists from all basic science departments with research interests consistently focused on CF, who interrelate seamlessly with high-quality clinical translational researchers from both the Department of Pediatrics and Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine.
Director: Richard C. Boucher, MD
Co-Director: Michael R. Knowles, MD
Internal Advisory Board: T Magnuson, RJ Samulski