Columbia University is uniquely positioned to develop scientists and/or clinicians towards independent research careers in temporomandibular joint disorders and pain (TMJDP). Through strategic recruitment in the past ~5 years, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CDM) now has a critical mass of NIH funded, primary and secondary faculty members whose research is directly in TMJDP. In parallel, multiple clusters of key recruitments in medical and engineering schools have yielded cadres of leading scientists in molecular genetics, biomaterials, chemical engineering and bioengineering whose expertise, when integrated with TMJDP, generates powerful and novel approaches. Collectively, our faculty mentors have over 28 NIH R01s that offer both the breadth and depth to trainees that will be recruited on this grant. Prior to this FOA, the CDM has established a track record of career development of multiple junior faculty members, with one example of a dentist/scientist whose work in novel TMJ stem/progenitor cells has received NIDCR K99/R00 funding, in addition to recognition as 1st place Hatton Awardees separately at 2012 AADR and IADR Conferences. This TMJDP training program has built key partnerships and leveraged tremendous resources that are currently available at Columbia. Interdisciplinary research is a particular strength at Columbia, with existing collaborations among dentistry, medicine, engineering, biological science and public health. The long-standing TMJ/Orofacial Pain Clinic (est. 1949) treats a broad range of patients not only in New York City, but also surrounding areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Northern Philadelphia, offering a fertile platform for translational and clinical research. Columbia University in the City of New York attracts abundant candidates with diverse academic, clinical, social and ethnic background, including underrepresented minorities, by offering them a broad range of learning opportunities. The overall objective of this K12 proposal is to prepare and develop scientists and/or clinicians into independent research investigators in TMJDP. We will set up a sustainable pipeline of Recruitment, Mentorship and Career Transition (RMCT). We will take a trainee-centered approach, very much along the Columbia tradition to focus on each student by maximizing his/her own learning experience. In response to this FOA, our Internal Steering Committee has performed a SWOP analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and consulted members of our Internal and External Advisory Panels. Accordingly, we have set the following 3 training tracks: Genetics/Physiology, Bioengineering/Regeneration and Imaging/Biomechanics. Our long-term goal, above and beyond this 5-year grant, is to continue with a successful and sustainable program to develop independent research investigators in TMJDP and other areas of dental and craniofacial research.
Patients with 'TMJ'or jaw joint problems suffer from pain and inability to intake foods. This proposal is designed to develop independent research career for highly selected candidates, including underrepresented minorities, who devote their research to TMJ and pain research. .
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