From its inception in 1978, the Morehouse School of Medicine has maintained the tripartite mission of excellence in teaching, research and service. Over the years of its evolution, it has systematically built up a research infrastructure that rivals that of more "research intensive" institutions. Moreover, the institution has pursued a strategic plan of research development and enhancement that has expanded the critical mass of talented researchers on its faculty. Despite its relative youth and size among the nation's medical schools, a recent National Science Foundation Federal Support Survey has documented that the Morehouse School of Medicine ranks #166 out of 1564 institutions in total Federal support for science and engineering. The creation of the Cardiovascular Research Institute in July 1999 is a natural extension of the strategic plan to achieve preeminence is discrete areas of research relevant to the core mission of the Morehouse School of Medicine.
The research infrastructure is surprising complete for a center of its size. Laboratories in the Cardiovascular Research Institute suite and MSM Core Facilities are well-equipped for physiological, biochemical and molecular biologic studies. Investigators are supported by a full array of common equipment including: ultracentrifuges, centrifuges, hybridization ovens, gamma and beta scintillation counters, freezers, lyophilizers, shaking incubators, densitometers, spectrophotometers, a ABI 3100 DNA sequencer, gel scanner, two phosphorimagers, three MJ Research 384 capacity PCR machines, Agilent Bioanalyzer, Agilent Glass Microarray Scanner, Trangenomic WAVE high-throughput DHPLC polymorphism detection, Pyrosequencer for highly accurate/high-throughput genotyping and state-of-the-art Roche-Lightcycler Real Time RT-PCR. In addition the labs are outfitted with luminometers, spectrofluorimeters and a fluorescent plate reader. Microscopy capabilities include two stereomicroscopes for mouse surgery and upright and inverted fluorescent microscopes with SPOT-CCD camera and Image Pro computerized image analysis station. In addition, tissue culture facilities and a fully-equipped dark room are adjacent to the laboratories. The CVRI has facilities and technical capabilities for constructing adenoviral vectors as well as creating genetically engineered mouse models. There are MSM core facilities for: flow cytometry/FACS, monoclonal antibody preparation, nucleic acid sequencing and DNA synthesis, protein/peptide purification (HPLC), two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, SELDI-Mass spectroscopy proteomics as well as imaging core labs for confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The Functional Genomics Core Lab provides access to several platforms for DNA microarray analyses including glass slides, nylon filters and Affymetrix as well as bioinformatic software support. The IUCAC-approved animal care facilities are located in the BMSB/MEB building and provide a full range of supportive services with capabilities for isolation of transgenic/knockout mice in barrier-protected laminar flow facilities. The Cardiovascular Research Institute has state-of-the-art DataBiosciences telemetry units and software for continuous monitoring of ambulatory blood pressure with implanted monitors in mice within the facility as well as noninvasive blood pressure cuff monitoring systems for mice. There is a dedicated Hewlett-Packard echocardiography unit dedicated for research purposes. Similarly, there is a Mouse Physiology workstation for conducting state-of-the-art physiologic analyses of murine working heart preparations. All offices and laboratories are equipped with networked, desktop computers and printers that have access to the institutional LAN intranet or the world-wide web for Genbank and NCBI searches.