The goal of this new application is to establish at Vanderbilt a mentored training program for early career pediatricians possessing both the aptitude and passion to become a new generation of basic and translational physician scientists. The overarching theme for the program is elucidation of the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of childhood diseases, leading to identification of therapeutic targets for the development of new drugs, biologics and vaccines. We will focus on career development in the following areas of child health where Vanderbilt has internationally recognized programs of discovery combined with a record of sustained excellence in research mentorship, namely: 1) Lung Disease and Development, including lung disease of prematurity; 2) Heart Disease and Development; 3) Obesity and Metabolism (including diabetes) 4) Neurological Disorders; 5) Cancer Biology and 6) Infectious Diseases of Childhood. The program offers an integrated pediatric department and medical school training program for four pediatric K12 scholars to receive up to three years of support that includes intense scientific mentorship and personalized career development. The scholars will have access to a cadre of well-established faculty including 25 carefully selected basic and translational senior investigators with sustained NIH funding coupled with an extensive and successful track record of mentoring early career scholars. In addition, we have carefully selected 10 pediatric mentors-in- training, most with R01 funding that will be well positioned for full mentorship of K12 scholars at the completion of this cycle. The Department of Pediatrics is fully integrated into the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and Medical Center, which ranks in the top 10 in NIH funding. All academic departments, hospitals, research laboratories and core facilities reside on a single campus offering an integrated research environment for early career physician scientists. The Department currently has 6 T32 grants providing an existing pipeline of K12 scholars. The departmental leadership will also conduct a national search to identify a group of K12 scholars, including underrepresented minorities that will thrive in this highly collaborative environment. Each scholar will have an individualized training program developed by the program and training directors in collaboration with a multidisciplinary mentorship team and will be supported by a broad array of institutional and departmental resources. Each scholar will participate in regular peer-to-peer group meetings including twice-monthly career development seminars with other campus K-awardees, bi-weekly lunch meetings with the training directors alternating with bi-weekly K12 peer-to-peer `Work-in-Progress' meetings, weekly departmental research seminars, regular mentorship committees (at a minimum every 6 months), and annual formal evaluations of scholars and program. They will also have confidential face-to-face meetings with two outside advisors (former and current Pediatric Chairs, Drs. Arnold Strauss and George Dover). Taken together, these multiple efforts provide an optimal environment for developing the next generation of pediatric physician scientists.
The goal of this new application is to establish at Vanderbilt School of Medicine a mentored training program for young pediatricians possessing both the aptitude and passion to become a new generation of basic and translational physician scientists. We will focus on career development areas where Vanderbilt has internationally recognized programs of discovery combined with a record of sustained excellence in research mentorship. Each pediatric K12 scholar will have an individualized training program developed by the PI and Training Directors in collaboration with a multidisciplinary mentorship team, and will be supported by a broad array of institutional and departmental resources.
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