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The Research Infrastructure Core (RIC) strategically enhances, advances, and accelerates the scientific rigor, productivity, and impact of health equity science conducted by scientists affiliated with 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 addiction research and cancer prevention. The RIC works with experienced scientists and new investigators 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 currently provides state-of-the-art services to UH scientists in Research Methodology; Laboratory Techniques and Facilities; Data Management and Biostatistics; Health Informatics; and the Responsible Conduct of Research, Ethics, and Compliance.

Team Science

What is Team Science?

Team science is a collaborative effort to address a scientific challenge that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals, oftentimes trained in different fields. Team members with expertise from different disciplines combine their perspectives in a single research endeavor. The Team Science Initiative at UH will facilitate collaborations between scientists from diverse fields, including social, basic biomedical, clinical, & translational research.


Why Team Science?

Complex scientific problems benefit from an approach where teams of specialists from diverse backgrounds work across the boundaries of disciplinary silos. Research suggests that diverse teams, with members from different academic ranks and professional roles on the team, are more likely to find solutions to these complex problems. Team science initiatives promote interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary collaboration.

Researcher Benefits

  • Limited submission funding announcements

  • Increased capacity to pursue large-scale federal funding

  • Innovation and scientific breakthroughs

  • Shared institutional resources

  • High impact publications

  • Career advancement and leadership development

  • Mentorship opportunities

  • Collegial relationships & expanded network


Resources We Provide

  • Pilot funding to foster new collaborations

  • Research method design & proposal support

  • Grant peer-review services

  • Statistical analysis technical assistance

  • IRB submission support

  • Online & social media research promotion

  • Shared best practices

  • Professional development

  • Community Engagement Resources


Get Involved

For more information about our current research clusters:

Ezemenari Obasi, Ph.D.

PI, HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention

NIH AWARD#: U54MD015946

Email: Telephone: (713) 743-4698


Fatima Merchant, Ph.D.

Director, Research Infrastructure Core

Email: Telephone: (713) 743-8292

Team Science Funding

We strongly encourage applications for research that informs novel prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and intervention strategies that mitigate a broad range of health disparities with an emphasis on advancing research in alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use (ATOD) and preventing cancer in underserved communities. Applications for Team Science funding are reviewed under a competitively structured process.

  • Primary Investigators must be employed at the University of Houston.

  • Applications will be considered on a quarterly basis until funds are exhausted.

​The Team Science Initiative is made possible by our Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) U54 program supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NIMHD) U54MD015946.


Research Infrastructure Core services offered to affiliated researchers

RIC one-pager

Team Science one-pager

Team Science one-pager

Team Science information and benefits.

Team Science one-pager

Team Science Seed Funding Application


Dr. Merchant

Fatima A. Merchant, PhD


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.

Beech 2.png

Bettina Beech, DrPH, MPH, FAHA


Tzuan A. Chen, PhD

Senior Biostatistician &

Program Evaluator

Ashika Brinkley

Ashika Brinkley, PhD, MPH

Health Initiative Research Director

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