Julius L. Chambers received an undergraduate degree in history from NCCU in 1959 and a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1962 as editor-in-chief of the law review and first in his class. In the intervening years before his return to NCCU in 1993 as its chancellor, Atty. Chambers taught briefly, established a law firm that became the first integrated firm in NC history, and was actively involved in the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) civil rights litigation both as a young intern and later as its director-counsel. As chancellor, Chambers saw the need for NCCU to fully engage in biomedical and biotechnical scientific research and to adequately train future research scientists. Convinced of this need, he sought out academic, business and government support for a Biomedical/Biotechnical Research Institute.
By the 1996-1997 academic year, the NC legislature had pledged $12.2 million for essential infrastructure. Glaxo Wellcome offered $1 million for planning and support and NIH awarded $3.1 million for cardiovascular research. During this time, Dr. Charles A. Sanders, former chair and CEO of Glaxo Wellcome from 1989-1995, spearheaded fundraising efforts as the chair of NCCU's Board of Trustees Capital Campaign Committee. The Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute was launched in 1998 as an innovative research and training institute dedicated to the advancement of fundamental knowledge of human diseases, particularly those that disproportionately affect under-represented minority groups. By the time the building was dedicated in September of the following year, collaborations had been established with three major universities (Duke, NC State and UNC) in NC's Research Triangle Park and two major research organizations (Glaxo Wellcome and US EPA), in addition to support from the NC Biotechnology Center and the NIH.
The JLC-BBRI facility provides 40,000 square feet of basic research space which includes eleven contemporary research laboratories; warm and cold rooms; tissue culture facilities; state-of-the-art research cores to support bioinformatic, transgenic zebrafish and histopathology needs; two meeting rooms with Smart Boards and a 100-seat auditorium with full motion video conferencing capabilities. BBRI's human resources currently consist of 17 investigators, 35 trainees (students and postdocs) and 38 research and support personnel.
The JLC-BBRI offers a variety of research training opportunities for NCCU undergraduate and graduate students. Student trainees can receive financial benefits such as tuition remission, academic year stipends, and research assistantships depending on their level of experience. All trainees are expected to participate in journal club meetings, seminars and laboratory meetings, in addition to working on their research projects. The summer research internship program provides a rewarding and enriching experience and close interactions with a research team.
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville St.
Durham, NC 27707