The Research Infrastructure Core (RIC) strategically enhances, advances, and accelerates the scientific rigor, productivity, and impact of health equity science conducted by scientists at the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention. The University of Houston (UH) has a wealth of post-doctoral fellows and scientists conducting health-related research. These researchers work across 12 colleges from 28 academic units with scientists from various health disciplines to offer team science opportunities in addictions and cancer prevention research in disparate communities in Houston and beyond. The RIC works with experienced scientists who are passionate about health-equity science. 

The specific aims of the RIC are to:

  1. Provide a research system that enhances the ability of scientists to be productive.

  2. Provide a place where information from many disciplines can be shared.

  3. Link underrepresented investigators in health sciences with established investigators.

  4. Create proposals for spending and earmarking.

RIC leadership builds new research teams that pursue innovative solutions. Scientists at the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention receive services that are cost-effective, accessible, efficient, with excellent customer service. The team pursues collaborations that minimize university duplication of resources and build bridges locally and nationally.


Research Infrastructure Core services offered to affiliated researchers

RIC one-pager



Dr. Fatima A. Merchant


Dr. Fatima Merchant is a professor in the Department of Engineering Technology. Her program of research focuses on multidimensional imaging and image analysis, and tissue engineering. Dr. Merchant has made significant contributions to the area of stereo-photographic imaging in clinical medicine, with an emphasis on 3D image analysis and visualization of surface scans of the female torso for breast reconstruction surgery. In the area of tissue engineering, she is currently pioneering the use of microfabricated silicon titanium diboride based substrates with titanium alloy micropatterns; that impart mechanical cues, for in vitro differentiation of stem cells and for studying metastatic and non-metastatic cancer cell phenotypes. Dr. Merchant has a sustained history of sustained team science funding from the National Institutes of Health (e.g., R01, R43, R44, U54). For this RCMI at UH, Dr. Merchant leverages her strong background in innovative laboratory techniques and facilities to direct the RIC.

Dr. Ezemenari M. Obasi


Dr. Ann Chen

Senior Biostatistician &

Program Evaluator

HEALTH Center for Addictions Research & Cancer Prevention

1100 Health 2, 4849 Calhoun Rd.
Houston, TX 77204

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© 2020 by the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention. The U54 RCMI at UH is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54MD015946).