The University of Arkansas NIH IDeA COBRE Center for Protein Structure and Function was established for the period 9/1/2000 – 8/31/2010 with COBRE Phase I/II NIH NCRR Grant 1 P20 RR15569 for $19.8 million, and continued for 9/1/2010 – 5/31/2015 with NIH COBRE Phase III grants 1P30RR031154 and 8P30GM103450 for $5.4 million. Proteins do nearly all the work in the cells of our bodies, ranging from brain function and nerve transmission to metabolic energy production and muscular contraction. Moreover, most diseases are associated with defects in protein function. Future advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of human disease will depend upon better understanding of the structures, functions and interactions of the thousands of proteins that are encoded within the genomes of humans, and human pathogens. Such understanding will emerge from detailed investigations of the molecular structure and function of proteins that play an important role in human disease. The members of the University of Arkansas COBRE Center for Protein Structure and Function seek to make significant contributions to this fundamental understanding through multidisciplinary research projects using state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation. The Center has made excellent progress since its establishment in October, 2000, bringing in more than $80 million is external grant support, including 37 NIH grants, and 28 NSF, DOE and EPA grants. Fifteen outstanding new faculty members have been hired, and core facilities in NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, large-scale protein production, and chemical synthesis have been established. The COBRE Center is conducting numerous biomedical research projects important to human health, including the development of new methods to treat osteoporosis, hepatitis C, the flu virus, cancer, and heart disease. For example, the goal of one project is to develop and test a fused parathyroid hormone – collagen binding domain protein for the treatment of osteoporosis.
The Center supports multidisciplinary research projects involving over 30 faculty members and 50 graduate students in three different departments.