About the Center
The core CIBS research facilities are housed in the BioScience Research Laboratories (BSRL) on the University of Arizona’s Health Science research campus. With more than 90,000 square feet of dedicated research and office space, the building provides an integrated hub across all domains of life science, from imaging and biomedical engineering to molecular biology and genetics to computational systems biology. By combining multiple disciplines under the same roof, this new facility encourages collaborative translational research that is advancing our understanding of the molecular basis of human health, aging and disease.
As part of our mission to accelerate academic innovation, the CIBS research facilities and office environment are designed at the vanguard of scientific excellence, providing our members access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and fostering an integrated research environment of intellectual cross-pollination and innovation. Built with efficiency in mind, our research facilities provide researchers with the shortest path between their labs and the analytical resources they need to support their work.
CIBS features expansive facilities, collaborative lab spaces, as well as state-of-the-art tissue culture and procedure rooms. Research spaces are fully equipped to support a wide variety of experimental modalities, including, but not limited to: genomic and transcriptomics, mitochondrial profiles and bioenergetics, electrophysiological, and metabolomics and proteomics. Molecular imaging capabilities are supported by two dedicated microscopy rooms, including a two-photon Zeiss Airyscan 880. In addition to these facilities, collaborator laboratories located within the building are equipped to provide a full complement of bioinformatics resources.
Integrated Research Environment:
Complex systems biology, bioenergetic, genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic capabilities.
In-house Drug Discovery and Development:
Computational and Synthetic chemistry, animal and human cell line validation platforms, and clinical trial support.
Co-located for Collaboration:
Bioinformatics groups, clinical and translational imaging cores, including MRI, spectroscopy, and PET scanning.
Computational Drug Discovery
Harnessing the power of advances in high-performance computing, deep learning, and in silico docking, we are accelerating the discovery of novel target pathways across the spectrum of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases.
Outputs from our computational pipeline are entered into our in-house state-of-the-art synthesis facilities. We are able to rapidly identify lead compounds and conduct initial screenings allowing us to confirm biological activity, target engagement, and specificity of action.
CIBS animal models are designed to mimic human disease geno- and pheno-types as closely as possible – ensuring predictive validity. Unique to CIBS, we developed a human neurodegeneration resource housing over 100 human fibroblasts, neural stems cells, and iPSCs from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and ALS patients.
Neurodegenerative diseases are multi-factorial in nature, with their expression influenced by lifestyle, genotypic, metabolic and other factors. At CIBS we embrace this complexity and are pioneering innovative clinical trial designs that ensure the right patient gets the right medication at the right time.
Regulation & Intellectual Property
To ensure our discoveries stand every chance of being developed into future therapeutics, we proactively manage all intellectual property and regulatory requirements. Through a dedicated team of project managers we cover the full spectrum of activities from initial disclosure through to IND preparation.
The Center for Innovation in Brain Science strongly believes that scientific innovation is strongest when it is supported by a diverse workforce in an environment that fosters multiple and sometimes competing perspectives.
What’s New at CIBS
CIBS Lifts all Brains
Human Neurodegeneration Cellular Resource
To support research in neurodegenerative diseases at the University, CIBS created a bank of several human induced pluripotent stem cell, neural stem cell, and fibroblast lines (de-identified and HIPPA compliant) derived from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Multiple Sclerosis subjects. This valuable resource enables fundamental advances in discovery of mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease and initial tests of therapeutic efficacy of CIBS precision therapeutics.
UA Stem Cell Core
In order to expand the University’s stem cell biology capabilities, CIBS supported building the UA Stem Cell Core located in the UA Sarver Heart Center. The Stem Cell Core’s key function is to characterize and maintain human stem cell lines that are available to researchers across UA’s campus. This invaluable resource has broad applications as both a tool in understanding basic disease biology as well as an unique avenue for regenerative medicine research.
To ensure UA researchers continue to have access to state-of-the-art computational resources, CIBS invested in an expansion of high-end computational nodes for UA’s Ocelote supercomputer. Ocelote serves communities across campus in helping researchers conduct computationally intensive simulations, including molecular dynamics, aerospace and mechanical engineering, and geoscience problems. At CIBS, this computational power is being used to drive the discovery of novel disease pathways and the simulation of molecules to target them.
UA Translational Behavior and Cognitive Function Core
CIBS partnered with the Department of Pharmacology and the College of Medicine-Tucson to expand the institutional capacity for rodent behavioral characterization. By adding new behavioral assays as well as expanding throughput capacity, researchers across the campus will be able to more rapidly assess the efficacy of newly developed compounds; greatly accelerating therapeutics to cure age-associated neurodegenerative disorders.
The Center for Innovation in Brain Science strongly believes that scientific innovation is strongest when it is supported by a diverse workforce in an environment that fosters multiple and sometimes competing perspectives. From the start, CIBS has focused on developing a scholarly community composed of a diversity of team members who bring a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and cultural experiences.
For all these reasons and more we celebrate the University of Arizona’s strong tradition of inclusion, including its designation as Hispanic Serving Institution and American Indian and Alaska Native-Serving.
Diversity in Research
One CIBS’ core mission is to shift the larger field away from a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to neurodegenerative research, treatment, and cures. Adopting a precision research and clinical trial approach is imperative if we are to discover meaningful interventions for neurodegenerative disorders
Meaning identifying specific subpopulations that are most likely to benefit from treatments.
Successful examples of this unique approach include our 2017 Manuscript on Sex and Race Differences in the Association Between Statin Use and the Incidence of Alzheimer Disease in which the group demonstrated that high vs low exposure to statins was associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer disease for women and men and that these reductions varied across race/ethnicity and type of statin.
Diversity in Training
Prior to joining the University of Arizona, Dr. Brinton founded and led the Science, Technology, and Research (STAR) program at a South Los Angeles high school for 30 years. In the mid 1980’s, inner city Los Angeles was in many ways at the nadir of a tumultuous history of urban poverty, drug addiction, and unemployment. At the time, students at these innercity schools were often faced with nearly insurmountable burdens to pursuing higher education. As an underrepresented minority herself, Dr. Brinton was unwilling to let the institutions of higher learning continue to serve as gatekeepers to these children’s paths to a brighter future.
In founding the STAR program, Dr. Brinton opened pathways for high school students from under-represented and under-privileged communities to pursue careers in medicine and biomedical sciences. Nearly 100% of students graduating from the STAR program went on to pursue secondary degrees at the most elite universities of our nation, including MIT, Columbia, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and CalTech. Acknowledging the magnitude of the impact her program has had, she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama in 2010.
In founding CIBS, Dr. Brinton has continued to focus on creating pathways to success for students from underrepresented backgrounds. The AZ-TRADD program program focuses specifically on recruiting individuals interested in solving problems at the intersection of precision-medicine and computational-systems-biology. Our recently submitted R25, proposed a strategic partnership with Diné College to create a neuroscience- focused training pipeline between our two institutions. The goal of this program is to facilitate the entry of qualified Native American investigators into the scientific training pipeline and provide them with the tools necessary to work on brain health related issues facing their communities.
The Center for Innovation in Brain Science (CIBS) is a new and exciting research nexus at the University of Arizona, cultivating collaborations and providing expertise in the area of translational neuroscience. The Center sponsors research forums and workshops, facilitates training for the next generation of investigators. It also serves as a knowledge hub for the clinical, translational and basic science neuroscience community while leading the push in developing therapeutics using a bedside-to-bench approach, as well as providing improved and expanded infrastructure for translational neuroscience research. By participating in this thriving community of translational neuroscience researchers, Members have the opportunity to more deeply explore and create solutions for the unique challenges faced within translational neuroscience.
CIBS has two categories of Membership, one for faculty and staff (Members) and another for trainees (Associate Members). All applications for membership in CIBS are forwarded to the Director of the primary program of interest listed by the applicant. The program leader provides the primary review of the application and recommendation of the applicant to the Membership Committee. Authority for appointment and discontinuation of membership in CIBS rests with the Director of CIBS, who has final approval authority of Membership Committee recommendations.
To apply for membership in CIBS, please follow the link to the appropriate application form below. The membership committee will review your application and get back with you soon.
Thank you for your interest in CIBS!
For more information on CIBS membership, please contact:
Coordinator, Center for Innovation in Brain Science