Program Description: The brain is the most frequent site of crippling and incurable human disease. Although basic discoveries in the neurosciences are being made at an unprecedented pace, these discoveries cannot be leveraged to reduce the burden of human disease unless they are responsibly translated into human studies and critically evaluated in the context of clinical practice. While many residency training programs in Neurology or Neurosurgery provide training in the basic sciences, the later demands of clinical practice rarely permit these specialists to excel in basic science research. Neurologist and Neurosurgeons, however, have unique access to the human brain and spinal cord and to patients with neurologic disease. As such, they are ideally positioned to translate basic science discoveries into the clinical arena concurrent with their clinical practice. Formal training in the principles, costs, and responsible conduct of translational and clinical research is lacking in most medical school curricula and is non-existent in traditional residency training programs, however. Thus, there is a clear need to enhance the interest and capability of Neurologists and Neurosurgeons in training to proceed on to academic careers as clinician-scientists who will fill the need to translate basic discoveries into novel treatments designed to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The overall goal of this translational and clinical research training program is to ensure that a diverse group of residents and fellows in the clinical neurosciences become highly-trained clinician-scientists with sufficient knowledge of clinical investigation principles and regulations to become competent, responsible, and independently-funded investigators capable of translating basic discoveries into clinical practice. The program proposed here will provide a unique and rigorous, but proven, approach to engage and educate physicians focused within the neurosciences. The program will integrate didactic training within the context of the Clinical Research Training Program, a formal degree program with a thesis requirement within the School of Medicine, and mentorship by a multidisciplinary faculty with significant experience in translational and clinical research and training. Emphasis will be placed on critical interpretation of the literature, statistical methodologies, and mechanisms of funding. The Program Director and an External Advisory Board will review program and trainee performance quarterly, as well as review applicants and mentors. Trainees will be recruited during and after residency training from a local, national, and international pool.
The brain is the most frequent site of crippling and incurable human disease. Important basic discoveries in the neurosciences are not being translated into clinical practice where they could reduce the burden of human neurologic disease because Neurologists and Neurosurgeons lack the requisite skills to conduct high-quality and responsible clinical and translational research. This proposal describes a program to enhance the interest and capability of Neurologists and Neurosurgeons as clinician-scientists who will fill the need to translate basic discoveries into novel treatments for human neurologic diseases.
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