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A Word from the Director, Dr. Jorge Piedrahita

JP3We are now officially a year old! It has been a great first year and we have accomplished a lot in such a short time. This bodes well for the future. One of our initial goals was to expand our membership to include faculty from other colleges and nearby universities and we have been successful at doing that. With new members from Colleges of Engineering, Sciences, Ag & Life Sciences, as well as UNC and Duke. We are also extremely excited by the increased participation of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the CMI. The Associate members are already making a difference and we look forward to even more innovative ideas from them.

Our seed grant programs, as well as microbiome grant initiative, have provided the opportunity for faculty to expand into new areas of collaboration and has resulted in over 20 new projects being initiated this year alone. The events that awarded the seed grants were unique allowing everyone attending to be part of the grant selection process. Members had a full say in how the money was distributed. I look forward to seeing many of those projects mature and lead to larger initiatives.

The undergraduate intern program developed by the TGG Program was so successful this year that it was decided all four programs would participate in this initiative in 2017. Working with the Undergraduate Research Program and the Undergraduate Honors Program, CMI will be developing an internship program that will allow students to acquire hands-on experience in laboratories across campus. This past year’s students presented posters at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and the CMI Annual Member Retreat. The level of professionalism of these presentations was outstanding.

We have continued to develop our website. We feel the CMI Faculty Directory is an exceptional tool that provides information about all of our members. We also know that it can aid in the development of innovative partnerships within our organization as well as outside. Your help in completing this task is greatly appreciated.

In the upcoming year, it is the CMI’s goal to expand our relationship with University of North Carolina and Duke University to further develop our collaborative influence. We have made great strides developing our relationship with the UNC Burn Center, Gene Therapy Center, Rare Diseases Council, and the Dental School. At Duke, we are working with TriCEM and the Duke Global Health Institute. We plan to participate in a wider range initiatives.

We want urge all of our members to actively contribute and develop interdisciplinary collaborations. We encourage you to become involved in your program, through events, through participation in subcommittees and through helping us to learn about new funding opportunities and ways that we can expand our institute to best serve you, our members.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of, and your participation in, the CMI. I look forward to working with all of you to make year two an even greater success!