UMD, UMB Strategic Partnership Announces Expansion of Interdisciplinary Research at Cole Field House

UMD, UMB Strategic Partnership Announces Expansion of Interdisciplinary Research at Cole Field House

The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are expanding the research and clinical scope at Cole Field House. The new Cole Field House will be a state-of-the art facility designed to integrate research, innovation, athletics and orthopedics, serving to promote and accelerate the translation of research discoveries in sports medicine and traumatic brain injury into clinical practice. 

The expansion will enhance the mission of the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance at Cole Field House, a signature MPowering the State program, and fulfill the promise envisioned by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act: MPowering the State (SB 1052). Private financial support for Cole Field House remains high, with the project nearly two thirds toward its fundraising goal and raising over $57 million to date.

The Center will capitalize on complementary strengths of UMD and UMB, including neuroscience, engineering, neurology, orthopedics and public health, for an interdisciplinary approach to sports medicine and occupational health.

As part of the Center’s expansion, the University of Maryland School of Medicine has established a Program in Sports Medicine, to be launched in July. The program, based at UMB, but with a significant geographical presence in College Park, will be led by Andrew Pollak, M.D., the James Lawrence Kernan Professor and Chair in the Department of Orthopedics, and David Stewart, M.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Family & Community Medicine.  “The primary goal of the Program is to improve interdisciplinary collaboration in research, clinical care and education among those involved in the science and care of sports-associated injury and illness,” says Dr. Pollak.

The interdisciplinary approach combined with additional resources and powerful analytic tools will enable novel and groundbreaking work in nervous system injury and neuroscience.

“Neural Imaging is an exciting and rapidly changing discipline in neuroscience. The ability to image the brain at high resolution, across different spatial scales, is key to understanding the human brain, including the response to injury,” says Elizabeth Quinlan, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology at UMD and scientific co-director of the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance. “The expanded technology and resources in Cole Field House will allow analysis from molecules and cells to circuits and systems, leading to a more complete insight into how the brain reacts to and recovers from trauma.”

“With cutting-edge imaging technology, researchers will transform the way we approach the study of brain behavior, which will allow clinicians to identify new windows of opportunity to more effectively intervene to repair brain injuries,” said Alan Faden, M.D., Professor, Department of Anesthesiology at UMB and scientific co-director of the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance. “Enhanced research facilities will allow UMD and UMB researchers and clinicians to take advantage of the latest technologies and address the latest areas of research, enhancing our ability to compete for research funds and make even greater impact.”

Research activity for the Center and Cole Field House is already underway, including a $3 million investment from MPowering the State used to implement a Challenge Grant program.  The challenge grants fund cross-university, multi-disciplinary pilot studies in nervous system injury and neuroscience. Criteria for funding include the significance of the proposed work and the potential for breakthrough discovery. One Challenge Grant team is working to transform the way we evaluate neuronal function and damage. To learn how neurons act within circuits, including during recovery from injury, researchers propose to develop the use of multi-photon cameras that can create three-dimensional reconstructions of neuronal activity. 

The work at Cole Field House will complement research being done at the Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC). The MNC already houses a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, ideal for mapping brain structures, and a Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanner, which measures the magnetic fields generated by neuronal activity in the brain. The collaboration with Cole Field House will allow access by both research scientists and clinical scientists. Other imaging modalities are also planned, including a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner, which images metabolic activity in the brain. This multi-modal imaging capacity will allow Cole Field House to become a national leader in brain imaging. 

UMD also plans to expand the athletic functions to position Cole Field House as the premier facility of its type, and best meet the needs of UMD’s coaches and student-athletes.  

As the scope has evolved, so has the size and vision for the use of the space. The athletic change in scope will be covered by $19 million from athletics. The costs associated with the expanded research enterprise at Cole Field House will be covered by $7.5 million pre-authorized in the FY18 capital budget for the state of Maryland, as well as $14 million expected to come from a combination of state and institutional resources.

The dedication for Phase I and the groundbreaking for Phase II of Cole Field House will be held on August 2 in College Park.

June 30, 2017


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Kevin Plank, co-founder of Under Armour, is an alumnus of UMD's Robert H. Smith School of Business.