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Core A - Project Development and Analysis

Program Director: Scott R. Whittemore, Ph.D.

Personnel: Darlene Burke, M.S.

Russell Howard, M.S., M.B.A

Ruth O'Bryan


This Core will provide mentorship and input to all who ask for assistance with the scientific basis of their experiments that use the Cores and ultimately their grant proposals that follow.  The COBRE/KSCIRC steering committee made up of Drs. Hagg, Harkema, Hetman, Hoying, Magnuson, and Whittemore will oversee this function.  However, all PIs are encouraged to participate and our evaluation is open to all P30 participating PIs. We typically ask to see Specific Aims two months before submission and have the PI present the preliminary data to all COBRE/KSCIRC Investigators.  Extensive constructive and critical feedback is presented at that meeting.  If the PI wants us to read his/her grant, we ask that it is given to us at least three weeks before submission.  Those grants are then ‘reviewed’ by P30 members with extensive study section expertise and written comments given back to the PI.  This procedure has worked very well with previous COBRE/KSCRIC PIs and our newer PIs have expressed a desire to participate, both in reviewing other’s grants as well as getting their own grants critiqued.  If they wish, a junior faculty member will be assigned a Mentor from one of the more senior P30 members to help facilitate their progress in research.  Over the past 10 years, the Senior Mentors (Hagg, Whittemore, and Xu – prior to his leaving) have pre-reviewed 43 R01 grants, 5 F30 grants, and 4 F31 grants, as well as numerous state and foundation grants.  Many of these required reviews of multiple revisions.  We view the commitment of the COBRE/KSCIRC PIs to pre-review and constructively critique their colleagues’ grants as part of their volunteerism to the UofL Neuroscience research effort.  Moreover, this reflects their commitment to the mentoring/teaching environment for junior PIs and the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from all of participating laboratories.  We perceive this as a major strength of our collaborative interactions.

We are continuing our tradition of fostering the development of the next generation of neurotrauma neuroscientists.  All trainees (undergraduate research students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) of PIs will be taught critical thinking skills and oral presentation skills by their required participation in our Journal Club and their annual seminar in our KSCIRC seminar series.  Trainees are also encouraged to present their posters at our annual Neuroscience Day and Research Louisville.  Moreover, trainees are exposed to a wide array of neuroscience research by attending our flagship Neuroscience Seminars Series, with world-class external speakers, as well as our Grand Rounds.



This Core oversees the overall administrative and fiscal oversight of the cores.  These administrative functions include scheduling and documenting all Core-related meetings, all Core-related space and physical plant issues, personnel issues, monthly fiscal statements, and follow up on all of those issues.  These functions will be handled by the Program Director in conjunction with his Administrative Associate Ruth O’Bryan, the Program Coordinator Russell M. Howard, M.S., M.B.A., KSCIRC and Department of Neurological Surgery Facilities Manager, and Janet Herbener, Research Manager, who will handle all of the fiscal issues. 

Monthly COBRE/KSCIRC Core Facility meetings will be scheduled to which all participating faculty and staff will be encouraged to submit agenda items and are welcome to attend.  These meetings will be chaired by the Program Coordinator.  The purpose of these meetings will be to resolve administrative issues such as scheduling and Core personnel involvement.

In addition, a monthly scientific meeting will be held that will be chaired by the Program Director.  It is at these meetings that PIs will present their specific aims for group critique, grant summary statements discussed, and data presented by the PIs who receive pilot grants.  It will be expected that each recipient PI present their data at least once per year.  We will welcome all postdoctoral fellows and graduate students involved in all facets of the work so that they can observe and learn from the discussions.



Initial efforts include consultation on experimental design, adequately powering projected sample size requirements, and determining the appropriate statistical procedures for analysis.  At times, input is sought to evaluate the experimental design and statistical analyses of published literature and manuscripts being reviewed.  Sometimes data collection for some experiments involves numerous types of assessment tests and, periodically, requires developing new testing procedures and establishing protocols for their implementation, and thorough documentation of all testing procedures.  The bulk of analyses are a type of ANOVA (one-way, two-way, etc., repeated measures ANOVA or mixed model ANOVA).  Complex analyses have included multivariate analysis, covariate analysis, multiple regression and reliability analysis.  When higher level parametric analyses are not appropriate, suitable nonparametric analyses must be determined and employed.  Some types of calculations are not available in the statistical packages.  Thus, it has been necessary to create a number of formulas and macros in spreadsheets that are frequently needed to perform many calculations and statistical comparisons.  Often the diversity among the experimental projects leads to new and unique statistical problems to solve.  Once resolved, the benefit from the additional time and effort is that these data analysis procedures usually prove applicable for use in future studies. 


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