About our COBRE

Center of Biomedical Research Excellence

Andrea Agarwal

Andrea Agarwal working with the electron microscope in a COBRE core facility at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Located in Northern Nevada at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), this center is funded by a $10 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The center integrates the research activities of faculty in three different departments and two colleges at the University and significantly enhances the Universities' research infrastructure and environment by establishing or expanding state-of-the-art scientific cores. The COBRE's five research projects are a strong stimulus to integrate the Universities' research in cell biology, developmental biology, signaling, and neuroscience and foster collaborations between basic scientists and clinicians.

Signaling Across Membranes

Signaling is a means of communication between different cells and across subcellular compartments to regulate cellular phenotypes and other important features of physiology and homeostasis. A variety of human diseases are caused by abnormalities in signaling and, more specifically, by defects in membrane trafficking. Such defects can lead to changes in cell proliferation (cancer) or changes in trophic support of cells (degenerative diseases). The former includes diseases with abnormal growth, such as cancer, and the latter includes neurological disorders. Many genes that encode important proteins in signaling processes are "ancient" and conserved between humans and simpler organisms. Understanding signaling in simpler organisms can accelerate the discovery of disease-relevant genes and proteins and provide important new insights how they are involved in mechanisms that are important in human physiology and pathology.