OVER VIEW - Carver Research Foundation Annex – Center for Genomics and Health Disparity Research
We seek NIH support to build an annex to the existing historic Carver Research Building to locate our cutting-edge cancer
genomics research, focusing on translational computation biology research. The new addition will accommodate the
growing needs of the many biomedical researchers at Tuskegee University pursuing computational and wet-lab genomics
research and the many researchers that we will hire soon. This addition will thus provide a modern infrastructure consistent
with the sophisticated requirements of current biomedical research and the training of a diverse workforce.
Health disparities are a focus and point of distinction in biomedical research at Tuskegee University, an Institution of
Emerging Excellence. Health disparities-related diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United
States and are very poignantly exemplified during the current COVID-19 pandemic. African Americans continue to suffer
disproportionately from these and other chronic diseases, including obesity and diabetes – all influenced by individual
genetic predisposition and environmental and lifestyle factors, including diet, nutrition, and physical activity. Tuskegee
University is located in Alabama’s Black Belt (a term initially referring to the area’s black topsoil and now more often its
predominantly African American population). The city of Tuskegee and the Black Belt are among the poorest regions in
We seek to become a globally renowned center of emerging excellence in cancer genomics with a focus on health disparities.
In the last few years, our cancer research efforts have been increasingly focused on genomics, transcriptomics,
computational biology, and digital pathology, resulting in numerous grants and publications in high-impact journals.
However, our existing laboratory infrastructure in an aging building has become drastically inadequate to support such
modern research endeavors. Additionally, we have recently been awarded the prestigious NIH FIRST award in collaboration
with UAB, which will require us to hire 12 new tenure track faculty members, with three housed at Tuskegee. These new
faculty will put additional demands for sophisticated laboratory infrastructure that are not available in our current facilities.
The Biomedical Research Center at Tuskegee University is currently housed in the historic Carver Research Foundation. It
supports multiple complementary research programs, including the Research Centers at Minority Institutions (RCMI) and
the Morehouse School of Medicine/Tuskegee University/University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive
Partnerships to Address Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE). The Integrative Biosciences Doctoral Program (IBS) is uniquely
poised to explore the genomic profile of underserved populations within Alabama's Black Belt. Collectively, these programs
promote biomedical research that facilitates the translation of basic research to innovative new therapeutics and behaviors
to reduce health disparities within Alabama's Black Belt region and the southeast region.
The new annex to the Carver Research Building will be the first facility on Tuskegee University's campus devoted solely to
biomedical research and graduate education. The CGHDR will consist of approximately 8,000 ft2 of green/sustainable newly
constructed space that will house wet lab benches; bioinformatics/genomic core research work areas; offices for faculty,
trainees, graduate students, and administrative staff supporting these researchers; and conference rooms. The complex will
include an open lab format that will support five new laboratories and three core laboratories (Microscopy, Bioinformatics,
and Genomics/Proteomics/Molecular Biology). The Research Building will be the first LEED-certified building on the
Tuskegee University campus and one of few in the Black Belt region. The proposed center will provide a location to identify
novel strategies for preventing and treating disease and advance the capabilities of all biomedical researchers at Tuskegee
University. The new center will undoubtedly contribute to research on reducing health disparities in Alabama's Black Belt
region and beyond. The center will also provide a valuable infrastructure to several other research groups on the campus,
including agricultural genomics and natural products research, nano-targeted drug delivery in the School of Engineering,
and infectious diseases, meat and poultry safety, and pathobiology within the School of Veterinary Medicine. Furthermore,
the new building will also help us attract and retain high-quality scientific talent, a chronic challenge in Tuskegee’s rural