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Border Health Research

Center of Excellence in Neurosciences

The Center of Excellence in Neurosciences is a group of scientists and faculty specializing in genetics, etiology, psychiatric disorders, genetics of eye diseases, optic trauma, and genetic development of the nervous system. To this end, Center research staff is further developing a population cohort bio-bank that will allow for the generation of population-based samples for research that is unique in the nation. These can be used to inform studies in neurologic and psychiatric illnesses, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses, but also, through NIH-funded data sharing agreements, can be used to increase the statistical power for minority populations in genome-wide association studies, which are currently unable to address many questions in medically underserved Hispanic minority patients. Complementing these activities is the development of a special senses program in genetic diseases of the eye and in optic nerve trauma.

The Center is also committed to addressing community and national needs. Currently, the research staff is developing post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury programs in connection with Fort Bliss. Addressing healthcare industry needs, the Center is working with medical students and future mental health providers with medical and research training opportunities, and with conducting research studies into the causes of depression in medical providers.

The Center is a team of 20 medical doctors/faculty, researchers and staff working on multiple programs supported by a number of agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and the Fogarty International Center.

The Center is also committed to training the next generation of medical researchers with an emphasis in neuropsychiatry and neurosciences. Faculty provide mentorship and training to students at the high school, college, and pre-doctoral and post-doctoral levels. The goal is to address the chronic shortage of qualified researchers, especially Latinos, and increase researchers' understanding of cultural issues affecting the U.S.-Mexico Border, the Paso del Norte region, and Latinos.