The BENFRA Center is supported by two Cores, a Botanical Research Core and an Administrative Core, which are critical to the success of the Center’s research mission.
Botanical Research Core
The Botanical Research Core will be based at Oregon State University, with collaborating laboratories at OHSU, University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Product Research (NCNPR) and Oregon's Wild Harvest (OWH). It will support the research projects of the BDSRC by:
- Providing authenticated and well-characterized Centella asiatica (CA) and Withania somnifera (WS) plant material for use in the BDSRC’s research as well as by any CARBON collaborations, sourcing plant material, authenticating and documenting their chemical and genetic characteristics. Plant materials will be cultivated at, or sourced through, OWH. Chemical characterization will take place at OHSU and OWH and DNA fingerprinting and barcoding will take place at the NCNPR.
- Producing and characterizing authenticated and/or characterized derivatives (extracts, fractions and compounds) of CA and WS for use by the BDSRC’s research projects or by CARBON collaborators.
- Providing high-content fingerprints of botanical extracts based on high resolution mass spectrometry-enabled metabolomics techniques.
- Developing, advancing, and applying analytical methods based on liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) for the quantification of compounds in CA and WS both in plant materials and in biological samples (plasma, brain) derived from animals treated with the botanicals.
- Conducting bio-chemometric correlation approaches with biostatistics support to identify active compounds, wherein preparations of CA and WS are fingerprinted by LC-HRMS and evaluated in a series of bioassays conducted under Project 2.
In addition, the Botanical Research Core will participate in a cross-component effort to discover unknown biological effects of CA by evaluating gene expression and/or metabolomics data from primary neurons (Project 2) and brains of animals (Project 1) treated with CA or derivatives, and attempting to integrate the “omics’ findings under the guidance of a bioinformatician (Administrative Core).
Botanical Research Core lead
The Administrative Core is based at Oregon Health & Science University. Its mission is to ensure the success of the BDSRC by supporting collaborative interactions between the BDSRC’s components and with other CARBON centers, providing direction and guidance for the activities of the BDSRC, and ensuring rigorous scientific standards in all of its research activities. This Core is also responsible for disseminating information regarding the BDSRC’s mission, activities, and achievements to a wider audience through this website. Critical components for the management of Administrative Core will be the Executive Committee (EXC) comprised of component leads and the Internal Steering Committee (ISC). The Administrative Core, in conjunction with the NIH sponsor, will organize an External Advisory Committee (EAC) that will meet annually to review the progress of the BDSRC and provide oversight and guidance.
The Administrative core also includes a biostatistician, bioinformatician and data manager to provide statistical and data management support for the two research projects and Botanical Research Core.
In addition, an important role of the Administrative Core is to promote the training activities of the BDSRC. The Core announces research training opportunities available at the BDSRC, connects potential trainees to faculty mentors, and manages funds associated with the research projects.