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Research Center for Applied Biomolecular, Behavioral, and Health Studies

Focus and Specific Interdisciplinary Nature of the Center:

The mission of the Research Center for Applied Biomolecular, Behavioral, and Health Studies is to promote multidisciplinary research in academic program areas that address scientific questions impacting our local environment and the health of our community, region, and nation. Specifically, this center supports the application of research methodologies from molecular, statistical, environmental, behavioral, and socio-cultural perspectives in collaborative approaches to singular problems.

Combining disciplinary problem-solving techniques and knowledge has led to significant scientific advances within individual fields – it is essential to address focused research questions that lie at the intersection of scientific disciplines. However, the faculty members also believe that to improve root-cause analysis and create lasting solutions for complex problems facing our region, scientific approaches that are multipronged and complementary are required.

To achieve this mission, the center will implement strategies focusing on specific aims that: 

  • Foster the development of existing faculty in research. UTC’s newest faculty members have come from scientific backgrounds in interdisciplinary approaches with diverse knowledge and skill sets; in addition, they wish to address questions that cannot be solved without development of cross-disciplinary or external collaborations. Individual departmental budgets and equipment limit the capability for establishing significantly collaborative programs across interdepartmental and intercollegiate lines. The center will provide funding for research projects that address the application of scientific principles from multiple fields to study health- and environmentally-related problems.
  • Expand the vision of students across existing disciplinary boundaries.  Using existing disciplinary research and individual studies courses, students directed by center faculty will be challenged to exercise critical-thinking skills required for current research approaches and learn to integrate principles from multiple methodologies to tackle complex scientific questions. The center also supports development of multidisciplinary workshops and/or seminar series for students highlighting diverse approaches to health, biological, and environmental problems. Both mechanisms provide a foundation for students preparing for graduate programs that are explicitly/inherently interdisciplinary in nature and help meet a need for cross-trained professionals in academia, government, and industry.
  • Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with local industry and the community.  The center aims to serve as a local/regional/national resource for health- and environmentally-related problems through the development of partnerships and advisory services. To realize this end, establishment of sustained and significant multidisciplinary collaborations internal to campus must be achieved. Ultimately, external collaborations could lead to internship opportunities for students and contract/grant partnerships with local and regional industry. Sustained collaborations will also provide a foundation to attract funding from local governmental agencies to build and enhance the program.