This application from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) requests support for renewal of the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) Program initially funded in 2007. The overall objective of MUSC's BIRCWH program is to attract translational scientists in the neuroscience arena to broaden interdisciplinary research related to women's health in South Carolina and throughout the U.S. Since its inception, the MUSC BIRCWH has supported 9 Scholars, including 4 PhDs, 4 MDs and 1 MD/PhD. All of the program graduates are Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators on research teams funded by extramural support. The program targets junior faculty who have an interest in developing a research careers addressing women's health and sex/gender issues in the neuroscience area. Scholars will remain in the program for a minimum of two and maximum of four years, depending on their level of training and experience at entry. We plan to have 5 Scholars in the program at any point in time, 4 supported by the BIRWCH program and 1 under-represented minority Scholar supported by an institutional commitment from the Dean of the College of Medicine. While each Scholar will have an individual career development plan, all will participate in core components, such as a seminar series focused on sex and gender issues in neuroscience research, MUSC's Sex and Gender Studies Research Day and training in responsible conduct of research, providing ample opportunity for interaction and the development of interdisciplinary collaborations. The substantial expertise in translational neuroscience at MUSC assures our ability to mentor individuals and contribute significantly to the understanding and treatment of women's health issues related to brain and behavior across the lifespan. Our 24 mentor-eligible faculty members from four health professional colleges (Medicine, Nursing, Health Professions, and Pharmacy) have broad skills in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, especially pertaining to neurodegenerative disorders, stroke, age-related dementia and cognitive decline, substance abuse, depression, and other mood and anxiety disorders. Their research interests are congruent with the special emphasis areas of Prevention and Treatment, and Biological and Behavioral Basis of Sex and Gender Differences, identified as high priority areas in the new BIRCWH RFA-OD-11-002.
MUSC's BIRCWH reaches across professional and scientific boundaries to transform women's health research by developing a cadre of young investigators who are committed to performing transdisciplinary research in the role of sex and gender in disorders that affect the brain. The substantial expertise in translational neuroscience at MUSC ensures our ability to mentor individuals in early stages of their research careers to contribute significantly to the understanding and treatment of women's health issues related to brain and behavior across the lifespan.
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