The Gulf Coast Consortia (GCC) added the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) to its list of members. The Houston-Galveston consortia is a large organization composed of academic institutions that cooperates nationally in order to raise stronger collaborative biomedical research groups and interdisciplinary training opportunities for their students.
Texas A&M IBT will collaborate with a network of basic and translational scientists, researchers, clinicians and students who work together in order to strengthen research and learning initiatives. The interdisciplinary studies’ main goal is to apply research results to improve both treatment and prevention of a series of diseases.
“The Texas A&M IBT has benefited tremendously from collaborations with institutions within the GCC and across the Texas Medical Center,” said the director of the Texas A&M IBT, Cheryl Walker, PhD., in a press release. “Membership in the GCC now provides an opportunity to bring many of the strengths of Texas A&M IBT to the consortium, including world-class research in human environmental health, biomedical engineering, veterinary medicine and drug development.”
The collaborative work will include the Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR), counted among the 20 U.S. Centers of Excellence in environmental health research designated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as the Texas One Gulf research center, which was recently established by the state of Texas in the wake of the BP oil spill under the congressionally mandated RESTORE Act.
The IBT is going to join other institutions that are already members of the GCC, including Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, University of Houston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
“We are thrilled that Texas A&M IBT has become the seventh member of the GCC, and we look forward to further engaging Texas A&M IBT faculty, researchers, students and staff in the many GCC research and training enterprises,” said the chair emeritus of the GCC, Kathleen Matthews, PhD, who is also the Stewart Memorial Professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University. Texas A&M IBT’s strengths in translational, cancer biology, and environmental health research fit very well with GCC’s existing and future scientific endeavors.”
The collaboration is expected to enable scientists to work together as well as establish new consortiums, like the John S. Dunn Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomics, a collaborative work being led by the Texas A&M IBT since 2011. This consortium is focused on chemical genomics and gathers top researchers from institutions in Texas to conduct a multi-institutional academic drug discovery program.
“Team science is becoming an increasingly important strategy in solving difficult scientific questions, particularly questions that have to do with human health and disease,” stated the professor and director of the Center for Translational Cancer Research at the Texas A&M IBT and head of the John S. Dunn Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomics, Peter Davies, PhD, MD. “The GCC breaks down barriers to this team science approach, bringing together the best talent, across translational boundaries and from multiple institutions, in order to develop creative research programs to improve human health.”
“Research synergies like the GCC create a culture of creativity that opens new opportunities for discoveries that positively impact human health,” added the CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center, Brett Giroir, MD. “We have, for a number of years, greatly valued our partnerships among collaborating institutions within the resource-rich Texas Medical Center and we are delighted to join the GCC, further expanding the Aggie presence in Houston, and in turn, leading world-class research and medical education in the most important health-related district in the world.”