Administrative Core: To support the CPR, a strong administrative core was assembled, led by Drs. Thomas H. Shaffer, Carolyn Schanen (2004-2012) and Robert Mason (2012-2014). The administrative core has served as a central point for activities of the CPR, providing an interface between the external and internal advisory committees (EAC and IAC, respectively), providing infrastructure for the mentoring program, and facilitating the academic activities of the Target Investigators and other Center faculty. The administrative core has also played a central role in faculty recruitment to our institution, bringing in both senior and junior faculty to strengthen the CPR and the academic environment at Nemours and to stimulate critical areas of pediatric research at Nemours. Administrative core staff played an integral role in development and completion of the renovations to our Life Science Center and in the design and construction of new facilities in Rockland Center I. Other activities of the administrative core include oversight of all budgetary issues, and organization of faculty and staff meetings, seminars, and our annual retreat, which coincides with a meeting of the EAC.
Thomas Shaffer, M.S.E., Ph.D. is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Pediatric Research (CPR), supported by the NIH COBRE grant P20GM103464. He is an accomplished translational researcher whose vision for the CPR has allowed us to build this exceptional program. His strong leadership provided the requisite authority to develop an integrated center within the institution by unifying the CPR faculty and working with upper administration to leverage commitments by the institution to meet with goals set by the CPR for academic growth of the CPR faculty. Dr. Shaffer is a stalwart proponent for translational research, who leads by example, as his own research program fosters the interface of basic and applied research and serves as a model of a translational research program within the institution. Under his leadership, the CPR has developed infrastructure to foster the academic growth of junior faculty within the CPR along with strong core laboratory support that not only benefits the CPR but the institution as a whole. In this regard, the core infrastructure has grown over the last decade and now incorporates Bioinformatics and High-Throughput Screening (HTS) facilities. He negotiates protected time, research space for CPR faculty, and institutional support via “Nemours-in-kind” funding to further extend the reach of the CPR into the institution and develop center sustainability. In this role, he directly and regularly interacts with members of the EAC and IAC. As the Director of the CPR, he is ultimately responsible for all center activities including faculty recruitment, fiscal oversight, development and support of core laboratories, including renovations to our Life Science Center, and development of new cores. He is active within the mentoring program, both serving as mentor and overseeing progress for the program. In 2010, the CPR was awarded 3 ARRA supplements 1) Administrative Supplements for Enhancing NCRR Pilot Project Mechanism- direct costs requested for year 1 ($155,000); 2) Administrative Supplements to Advance Translational (T1 & T2) Research- direct costs requested for year 1 ($753,497) and 3) Administrative Supplements to Advance Translational (T1 & T2) Research- direct costs requested for year 1 ($347,000).
Robert Mason, Ph.D., who was a founding member of the CPR, is now the Program Coordinator and Cell Science Core Director of the CPR and responsible for mentoring several investigators, as well as junior recruits. Dr. Mason works closely with Dr. Shaffer on oversight of other administrative aspects of the CPR, including faculty meetings, fiscal matters, annual retreats, symposia and interactions with the EAC and IAC to accomplish the goals of the CPR. The Program Coordinator also works with the Core Directors to insure that all cores are operating as designed. He coordinates all training of COBRE faculty, students and staff on the use of core instrumentation, making sure COBRE personnel know about the training being offered. He works with the COBRE Director in preparing reports to our External Advisory Committee and endeavors to keep all aspects of the COBRE grant running efficiently. Drs. Shaffer (COBRE Director) and Mason (Program Coordinator) have a long-standing administrative collaboration and are well accustomed to working together. They meet on a regular basis concerning research progress, undergraduate and graduate student mentoring and administrative matters. Dr. Mason as Program Coordinator has worked directly with each of the COBRE Core Directors on research projects and other IDeA (INBRE/COBRE/DE-CTR) core programs; thus he is well suited as a liaison between the Core Directors and the Program Director.
Barbara Gray, M.A., C.P.A. has been the Administrative Manager of the CPR for the last decade and oversees all daily administrative operations. In this role, she coordinates the entire range of center activities, fiscal and operational prioritization, as well as coordinating activities of the PD/PI and PC. Over the years, she has been the primary liaison with our IAC and EAC. Of paramount importance is her role in reporting to the NIH (APR and 2590), coordination of the annual retreat, and coordination of the COBRE pilot studies program.