Since its inception in 1985, the RCMI Program has been instrumental in shifting the institution from a traditional teaching school to a vigorous research center. The institution has experienced a substantial development of its human as well as its physical infrastructure. Along these lines, through auspices of the RCMI Program, the institution has been able to acquire state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and other resources, required to pursue competitive basic, clinical, and behavioral research. Some of the research areas developed include; Retrovirology, HIV/AIDS, Molecular Biology, Human and Bacterial Genetics, Protein Chemistry and Enzymology, Immunology, Cancer Biology, and Epidemiology. As a direct impact of this development, the institution experienced a substantial improvement in; the number and quality of peer-reviewed manuscripts elicited by the faculty, the number of scientific presentations at competitive forums at the national as well as international levels, and in the number of submitted and funded research and research training initiatives. The RCMI Program, through the period of years 2008-2013, proposes to continue the development of its human and physical infrastructure in order for the institution to reach its major goals and objectives contained in the Institutional Strategic Plan for Research. Particular emphasis will be given to the development of health disparities research in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Basin, and the development of translational research. The proposed Program consist of four Core activities (Administration, AIDS Research Infrastructure Program, Molecular Biology, and Behavioral) and five Research Pilot Projects. The major goals and objectives of the present competitive continuation application are to:

  1. Provide administrative support to foster continued progress of RCMI Program activities

  2. Implement a formal Faculty Mentoring Program to assist investigators in developing independent and competitive research careers

  3. Strengthen faculty recruitment, development, and retention

  4. Strengthen the HIV/AIDS Research Infrastructure Program and the Molecular Biology Core

  5. Implement and further develop a Behavioral Neurosciences Core

  6. Provide the necessary leadership and guidance for the development of five Research Pilot Projects presented by junior faculty

  7. Implement a comprehensive evaluation program to provide continuous assessment of progress achieved by all RCMI Program activities.