A Message from the Provost
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is the home of the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Center (BRIC). The Center focuses on several research areas, many of which are aimed at the elimination of disparity in health care initiative. Research areas include neurophysiology of pain and control of the cardiopulmonary systems, cardiovascular diseases, developmental biology, and drug and alcohol addiction. Researchers in these areas use cutting edge molecular, cellular, physiological, behavioral, and bioinformatics technologies. The ultimate goal is to prevent common diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, addiction and cancer so that people can live healthier and fuller lives. Of equal importance are BRIC's effort to enhance minority student training and access to graduate/ professional fields in the biomedical sciences.
Consistent with WSSU's mission and, to promote minority health and health parity for minority and medically underserved populations, BRIC seeks to build and strengthen the community of Forsyth County while enhancing the integration of teaching and research in life sciences, behavioral sciences and other health-related fields at minority-serving institutions. Research and training activities at the BRIC are expected to contribute to the discovery of new knowledge in science and technology, to a greater understanding of the nature of health disparities, and to the development of researchers and health professionals who may devote their careers to biomedical and behavioral sciences in minority communities. Under the leadership of the center director, Dr. Azeez Aileru, various funding opportunities at the center are directed to several core areas. These include: biomedical research; institutional research infrastructure and capacity-building to strengthen faculty research, training, technology advancement, and shared resources. The infrastructure and capacity-building activities at the BRIC are consistent with the long-term institutional objective of WSSU to develop and nurture graduates who distinguish themselves as exceptional leaders in their professions. Faculty who participate in BRIC activities and other career development opportunities are routinely recognized for their expertise. Such recognition opens opportunities for research funding support and collaborative research that enhances the curriculum and broadens the scope of students' learning experiences.
BRIC is also the lead in many student-centered programs aimed at increasing the number of minority students both in pursuing graduate degrees in health care disciplines and biomedical sciences. These initiatives include: NIGMS - Minority Access to Research Careers and Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR); Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), NINDS Undergraduate Neuroscience Training Cooperative (UNTRAC), a collaboration between researchers at WFU and WSSU establishing a Neuroscience minor degree program for students at WSSU. In addition, BRIC supports K-12 students in the Forsyth County community area with the Summer Technology Institute (SciTech) Program that promotes academic advancement of middle school youngsters in the fields of biomedical sciences and biotechnology research.
A constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, WSSU is located in the heart of Winston-Salem, which has an estimated population of 228,000. The city is part of the Piedmont Triad, a 12-county region that is one of the most heavily populated, rapidly growing metropolitan areas between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Long known as a manufacturing center for tobacco, textiles and furniture, the region has been transitioning its economy over the past decade to one driven by life sciences, biotechnology, and research and development. Winston-Salem is undergoing an economic revival fueled in good measure by more than $75 million already invested to develop the Piedmont Triad Research Park (PTRP), an urban biotechnology research park that will encompass 200 acres from the heart of downtown to historically underserved neighborhoods and the campus of WSSU. From this unique position researchers at WSSU's BRIC work in strategic partnerships with other local academic institutions, businesses, foundations, and governmental agencies to build regional economic prosperity through biomedical and translational research and the training of minority scientists and related professionals.
The activities of the BRIC foster in innumerable ways the university's motto: "Enter to learn; depart to serve," and contribute to the vast and far-reaching initiatives of Winston-Salem State University.