Behavioral Medicine Research Center

The Behavioral Medicine Research Center (BMRC) is located in the Clinical Research Building (CRB) on the campus of the Miller School of Medicine. The CRB contains 15 floors with over 350,000 square feet of space; approximately 22,000 square feet per floor.  It was designed to be a model facility integrating education, patient care and clinical research. The CRB is available to investigators 7 days per week, has 24-hour security, and a service reception area at the main entrance to greet, orient and direct research participants, within the strict guidelines prescribed for clinical research protocols.  A large multi-story parking garage is connected to the building.  The CRB is also in close proximity to Metrorail and the Miami-Dade bus system. The administrative and personnel offices of the BMRC are located on the 15th floor of the CRB, whereas the clinical and laboratory facilities occupy most of the 7th floor and consist of approximately 15,000 square feet of space. This includes rooms for: physical examinations; psychosocial assessments; psychophysiology assessments; ultrasonography assessments; nutrition assessments; exercise stress testing; group psychosocial interventions; biospecimen processing; and storage of biospecimens. Additionally the BMRC contains: a reception and waiting area; partial kitchen and dining room; a copy/mail room; a conference/meeting room; and offices for faculty investigators and staff. Each room is equipped with computers, all wired into a local area network, which connect via a T1 line to the Medical Center's fiber optic backbone. Laser and inkjet color printers are distributed throughout the floor and are all connected via LAN. Software on the computers includes standard statistical packages, database management, nutrition assessment and office management. Wireless access is also available throughout the floor and building. The Clinical unit of the BMRC contains state of the art equipment described in Section 11 of this grant application.

The Behavioral Medicine Research Building on the Coral Gables campus has more than 10,000 square feet of research space specifically designed for: biobehavioral research; biopsychosocial intervention; behavioral neuroscience; and animal research. The building contains a human psychophysiology laboratory, data management and statistics laboratory, electrophysiological laboratory, behavioral testing laboratory, histology/neuroanatomy laboratory, conference room, and some faculty offices. The animal research facilities in the BMRB includes separate suites for physiological experiments and for behavioral experiments, each with its own surgical preparation rooms. Another surgical suite has been dedicated for aseptic surgery in order to comply with federal guidelines pertaining to survival surgery. The behavioral lab is equipped with a polygraph, PCs for stimuli presentation and data acquisition, a rabbit exercise motorized treadmill, sound attenuated behavioral chambers, tail-cuff blood pressure monitor, and a data acquisition system. Adjacent to this lab is a room for handling of blood samples and includes a refrigerated centrifuge and -80 degree freezer. Also available is a necropsy/histology laboratory with a fume hood, cryostat, and a microscope room with epifluorescence microscope and a digital dissecting microscope. The BMRB also contains an animal vivarium that was designed specifically to comply with all USDA and NIH guidelines pertaining to the care and maintenance of animals. This includes a large walk-in cage washer and separate rooms for storage, food preparation, and waste disposal, as well as 5 large, separate rooms for the housing of animals. A full-time animal caretaker,under the aegis of the Division of Veterinary Resources, is assigned to these facilities. BMRB rooms are equipped with computers, which are linked via a secure network to the internet. There are computer ports in each room. All computer workstations have Microsoft Office as well as statistical software including SAS, SPSS, Mplus, and Adobe Acrobat 9 pro. Printers, copy, and fax machines are located throughout the building.

The Department of Psychology's computer support (IT) team supports the computer systems in both the BMRC and BMRB as needed, in installing computer software and hardware, repairing hardware, troubleshooting technical problems, and maintaining the network for file sharing and data storage.

Electronic data is stored on a series of redundant servers at Coral Gables campus. Security is accomplished using Microsoft Windows Network Infrastructure to store and access data as well as to share data across the Internet. The University of Miami network is protected by firewalls. At the University level, network specialists monitor network flow and check unusual network activities daily to detect intruders. Database servers are locked in an environmentally controlled, secure room in the Flipse Building, which houses the Department of Psychology.

Additional research space available for trainees can be found in the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a research facility of 86,000 sq. ft., located on the Medical Campus. This facility includes the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory and the Advanced Imaging Laboratory. The Clinical Chemistry Laboratory is fully equipped for performing tissue culture, gene and protein expression analysis of tissues and cultured cells, protein electrophoresis, blotting, and immunodetection. The lab has a dedicated RNA isolation area. The Advanced Imaging Laboratory is equipped for performing immunofluorescence and live cell imaging. Associated with the DRI is the Division of Comparative Pathology, part of the Department of Pathology on the Medical School Campus. The Division has access to over 6,000 sq. ft of laboratory space, with a complete histopathology laboratory and complete equipment for routine, special stains and immunohistochemistry.

The newest facility for trainees is the 37,700 square foot Neuroscience and Health Annex to the Cox Science Building on the Coral Gables campus. The Neuroscience and Health Annex is an interactive "hub" for interdisciplinary research based on biological imaging and health research.  This state-of-the-art facility provides space for a human fMRI core laboratory and an advanced in situ molecular imaging complex. It allows behavioral and health researchers across campuses to collaborate in close contact with one another and with other scientists in space specifically designed for their research needs. The annex was designed and built following US Green Building Council sustainable design criteria with the goal of achieving LEED Silver Certification. Imaging of metabolic processes in different brain regions will help in the understanding of cognitive/emotional processes and disorders, and their relationship to physical disease. The research programs in the Neuroscience and Health Annex will contribute to these efforts by studying model systems in animals and correlate human behavior with functional changes in different regions of the brain. The Neuroscience and Health Annex opened in the Summer of 2013.