The Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication (NCIBC) is a UNL Center with funding through the NIH IDEA program
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) seeks to foster collaborative interdisciplinary research to enhance its biomedical research infrastructure in the molecular life sciences. Building on the success of two prior UNL Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBREs), The Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication (NCIBC) was established. The central vision of the Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication (CIBC) is to transform our understanding of the mechanisms of information transfer between biomolecules by fostering collaborations between researchers developing innovative methods with those investigating biomedically important questions. The transfer of information between biomolecules is one of the defining aspects of life at the molecular level and is essential for all homeostatic and disease processes. Finely tuned molecular communication networks are disrupted in disease, yet there are many gaps in our fundamental knowledge about how these pathways operate, resulting in an inadequate understanding of molecular etiology of complex diseases. CIBC is addressing these gaps by developing new analytical tools and integrated research approaches to probe communication pathways within and between cells with high chemical, spatial, and temporal resolution. The collaborative teams that CIBC has coalesced and supported through Phase 1 funding have been highly successful in obtaining independent funding and high impact publications.
Supporting research and career development
Providing early stage investigators with research support and opportunities for career development. Their research is broadly focused on understanding the regulation of biomolecular communication pathways.
Enhancing research capabilities
Establishing a Systems Biology Core and a Data Management and Analysis Core by leveraging existing facilties and enhancing research capabilities.
Fostering research collaborations
Pursuing high impact biomedial research through integrated interdisciplinary research collaborations and diverse disciplinary representation.
The initial cohort of project leaders – five early stage investigators from the Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – are pursuing projects interrelated by their fundamental focus on different aspects of biomolecular communication within and between cells and tissues. These projects are directed toward identifying molecular metabolic signals of microbial syntrophy in the human gut, developing techniques for high-resolution protein glycoform analysis, unraveling ligand-Stabilin-2 interactions in liver disease progression, designing molecular probes for intracellular phosphorylation kinetics, and developing tissue engineering platforms specifically for liver. The breadth of science encompassed by these projects signifies the interdisciplinary nature of the Center’s research goals.
NCIBC’s Systems Biology Core and Data Management and Analysis Core facilities leverage existing core facilities established under prior COBRE support. The proposed research cores, coupled with the interdisciplinary focus of the NCIBC, will serve as a natural mixing chamber to foster the development of new collaborations among Nebraska’s biomedical researchers to pursue high impact biomedical research.
NCIBC’s innovation is in integrating the research activities of chemists, biochemists, engineers, and bioinformaticists. Its impact will be in addressing critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of how cells communicate and integrate metabolic and regulatory pathways relevant to disease development and progression.