This R13 meeting proposal requests support to continue an annual training and mentoring program for 20 - 25 pre- and postdoctoral trainees at the 19th annual meeting of the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society (PNIRS), June 6-9, 2012, to be held in San Diego, California. Opportunities for advanced, interdisciplinary training of junior scientists interested in the basic science aspects of behavioral and neuroimmune interactions and their translational relevance for disease prevention and treatment are often limited at the university level. Since 1999, the PNIRS meeting has received NIH support to provide formal didactic instruction and constructive career guidance for over 270 fellows. The primary goal is to create pedagogical opportunities and offer supportive mentoring at this formative stage in the trainee's career in order to enhance their research potential and trajectory for success. The PNIRS is the primary professional organization representing the many diverse scientific disciplines involved in these types of inquiry. The PNIRS has approximately 332 members, including approximately 40% early in their career. The PNIRS Training Committee oversees the Society's commitment to the mentoring program and ensures its quality. Selection of the Trainee Scholars, including five diversity trainees, is based upon an open competition, and is determined by research excellence and career promise. The impact of this program is evidenced by the productivity of previous awardees and their scientific successes. In addition to the exposure to a rapidly evolving science and oral sessions and keynote talks offered by leading scientists, trainee scholars participate in an Educational Short Course, a Senior Faculty- Trainee Mentoring Colloquium, Junior Faculty and Trainee workshop, and roundtable discussions with NIH program staff. Trainee abstract submissions are also reviewed for potential inclusion in thematic oral sessions developed from competitive abstract submissions and the "Data Blitz" sessions that immediately precede each poster session. Finally, a trainee dinner is held to further nurture the establishment of enduring collaborative and scientific relationships. This training and mentoring program is congruent with the mission of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other NIH institutes to increase the number of young scientists investigating biobehavioral pathways linking lifestyle and psychological factors to the promotion of health and to deciphering the role of host factors in the pathophysiology of disease. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) related research has shown that psychological factors and lifestyle can impact immune competence and influence disease susceptibility. PNI biobehavioral research findings are germane to a wide range of diseases and help to account for variations in morbidity and mortality as well as quality of life. PNI methodologies also offer unique assessment strategies and outcome measures for evaluating the efficacy of nontraditional and complementary medicine approaches. Based on an enriched understanding of brain-immune interactions, PNI has also provided novel insights into the potential contributions of the immune system to neuropsychiatric disorders.
This R13 meeting award will enable 20 - 25 of the most promising pre- and postdoctoral research scientists to participate in the upcoming 2012 PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society meeting to be held June 6 - 9 in San Diego, CA. These Scholar Awardees will have the opportunity to disseminate their findings and participate in special training and mentoring activities that will improve their likelihood of having a successful career in interdisciplinary basic science and translational research germane to the mission of the National Institutes of Health.