ACEII - CORE D. The UCLA CART Research Training and Education Core offers an unprecedented opportunity to create a new kind of autism research scientist by unifying education and training in neurosciences and genetics and infusing the psycho-behavioral perspective across the full spectrum of research, from the bench to social science. Notably, since its inception as an NIH Autism Center in 2003, the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) took the lead to design and develop training, education and community outreach as a key component of its center. With this ACE Center renewal, CART will continue its already established special programs (including Pilot Grants, Annual Symposium, and Affinity Lecture series) and also will institute a formal research training program. The Core D Training Program will oversee the identification, selection, recruitment and training of qualified and highly motivated predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows (Sigman Scholars). In addition, each of the trainees will be partnered with a CART faculty member who will guide his or her training and development and will ensure that the trainee is incorporated into the larger CART interdisciplinary autism research agenda. The program has five Specific Aims: 1) Develop new interdisciplinary training initiatives in autism research;2) Establish a Los Angeles community-wide infrastructure to optimize outreach and cross-disciplinary training and to facilitate the recruitment of research subjects and the dissemination of scientific findings;3) Build upon existing autism training activities by expanding the scope to include mentoring and other curricular elements;4) Establish policies, criteria and processes for selecting students and fellows;and 5) Implement and evaluate the programs. Our goal is to develop the training pathway in interdisciplinary autism research from undergraduate student to graduate student (pre-doctoral) to postdoctoral fellow (Sigman Scholar) to junior faculty in order to leverage the expertise and experiences of the senior investigators of the UCLA CART to train the next generation of autism researchers.
Given the complex nature of Autism Spectrum Disorders, an interdisciplinary approach to training autism researchers is necessary. The goal of the Research Training and Education Core for this ACE grant is to provide scientific information to the public and interdisciplinary training by senior experts at UCLA to produce the next generation of autism researchers who will address the needs of children with ASD and their families.
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