Rapid advances in developmental neuroscience, imaging, genetics, and molecular therapeutics have thrust Child Neurology into the biomedical limelight. As a child neurology residency program director I am amazed at the increasingly spectacular qualifications of each new wave of resident applicants who are drawn to the fundamental problems facing our specialty. At Massachusetts General Hospital we are poised with a talented pool of residents interested in research, an abundance of basic science advances waiting to be translated to medical realities, an exceptionally rich research environment, and a PI, steering committee, and group of carefully selected mentors who together will guide the development of these trainees into successful physician scientists. We have assembled a group of accomplished NIH-funded mentors whose expertise is focused on brain development and neurological diseases of childhood. These are experienced investigators with a strong track record of training physician scientists. The K12 participants will have full access not only to their mentor's lab but also the many resources available through collaborative programs designed to accelerate neuroscience research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A carefully structured curriculum of coursework, written evaluations, and meetings with the PI and child neurology co-mentors has been carefully designed to ascertain that all scholar participants advance smoothly to independent research funding.
Recent advances in our knowledge of the information encoded in our DNA and in the way our brains are formed have emphasized the need for research into the medical problems of individuals who are challenged in these vital areas. Participants in the proposed research training program are the most driven and gifted graduates of the pediatric neurology training program at the Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School. This application will link these talented individuals to the tremendous depth and breadth of research resources available in the Harvard system through a group of dedicated mentors who study the developing nervous system and its dysfunction under the guidance of the PI and steering committee.
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