Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, immunologic and neurological disease and vision problems reflect the health problems that affect most Georgians and the research focus of the state's health sciences university. The Georgia Regents University has been on an upward trajectory in research initiatives and funding in these thematic areas for the past decade. Newly established Discovery Institutes are strengthening that focus and enhancing collaboration between scientists and physicians to speed translation of new knowledge to better disease prevention and treatment.
The Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics supports interdisciplinary and translational science in nanomedicine and gene regulation, regenerative medicine, developmental neurobiology and reproductive medicine.
The Georgia Institute for the Prevention of Human Diseases and Accidents, more commonly known as the Georgia Prevention Institute, focuses on health promotion and disease prevention, mainly in youth. The institute’s original focus on hypertension has broadened to incorporate topical areas such as obesity and inactivity in children as well as kidney disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure and cancer.
The Vascular Biology Center focuses on the investigation of cellular and integrated vascular function under both normal and pathological conditions, an area of research of vital importance to human health because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Faculty have expertise in coronary, pulmonary, cerebral, retinal and renal vascular systems.
The Synapses and Cognitive Neuroscience Center promotes research on mechanisms of learning, memory and plasticity in the mammalian brain to foster translation of these basic research findings into understanding of clinically important problems, including stroke, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Immunotherapy Center seeks to discover fundamental molecular mechanisms and cellular processes that control the immune system and to translate this new knowledge into innovative approaches to prevent and treat clinical disease.
The Sickle Cell Center is an internationally recognized center for sickle cell treatment and research, incorporating the work of faculty from medicine, pediatrics, hematology/oncology, neurology, molecular biology and other specialties.
The Center for Telehealth develops, investigates and implements telecommunication and information technologies that enhance access to health care in underserved rural and urban areas and facilities research and analysis of telehealth applications, health-related educational services and applications as it supports efforts aimed at disaster preparedness.
The Center of Operational Medicine’s mission is to save lives and improve the health of casualties in EMS, tactical, disaster, wilderness and other austere environments through education, training, research and clinical care. The center interfaces with and serves the medical, educational, and operational needs of local, state and federal government agencies, engages in interdisciplinary, interagency research and fosters development and training in the science of operational medicine regionally, nationally and internationally.
The Center for Patient- and Family-Centered Care conducts research that broadens opportunities to build patient-provider partnerships, strengthens health care quality, expands understanding of the impact PFCC has on patient safety and care quality and increases students’ knowledge and practice of PFCC.
The Center for Nursing Research advances the research and scholarship mission of the School of Nursing by helping students and faculty obtain external funding to support research, educational and service demonstration projects.
The Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine promotes interdisciplinary research in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. The center provides state-of-the-art facilities for microarray analysis, proteomics and computational technologies. Current research focuses on autoimmunity and immune tolerance, diabetes and its complications and cancer proteomics.
The Cancer Center is the home of basic scientists, translational researchers and clinical researchers focused on reducing the burden of cancer. Areas of study include cancer immunology/immunotherapy, molecular oncology, developmental therapeutics and cancer prevention and control. Basic science discoveries are evaluated for implementation in human trials with the most promising new therapies are offered to patients in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. The center has initiated alliances with physicians in Augusta, Savannah, Athens, Statesboro, Columbus, Albany, Brunswick and Valdosta, Georgia, as well as Aiken and Columbia, South Carolina, broadening participation for patients in those communities.
The Alzheimer’s Research Center supports collaborative basic and clinical research in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. Research areas include biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, novel therapeutic agents to treat or delay cognitive disturbances associated with advanced age and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the role of estrogen in cognitive deficits, novel therapies for attention deficits and reversal of environmental toxins’ impact on cognition.
The six discovery institutes at GHSU were created in 2008. Their creation dovetails with the National Institutes of Health’s Roadmap for Federal Research, the federal government’s vision for a more efficient and productive way to apply laboratory knowledge to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The institutes are headed by a Ph.D. and an M.D. and organized along GHSU’s existing research strengths.
Brain & Behavior: Focusing on stroke, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, memory and cognition
Cardiovascular: Focusing on atherosclerosis, hypertension and resulting cardiovascular conditions
Diabetes & Obesity: Focusing on biological and behavioral triggers of youth obesity and diabetes
Immunotherapy: Focusing on chronic inflammatory diseases, counter-regulatory mechanisms, chronic infections, vaccinology, autoimmune and allergic diseases, transplantation and cancer
Vision: Focusing on diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity
Education: Utilizing GHSU School of Medicine’s reputation for educational innovation as a framework for scholarly research on topics such as the impact of curriculum change and multi-campus medical education.