The aim of this training program is provide a significant research experience during the neurology residence at the University of Pennsylvania, as a means of accelerating the transition between residency and research career development for our overwhelmingly academically-oriented trainees. The program will be conducted in a large research-oriented institution with a residency program that trains some of the best candidates in the country and that has enough flexibility to encourage a meaningful hiatus from clinical training without compromising the important goals of a neurology residency. Eligible residents will apply to the program through an administrative committee, providing evidence of research aptitude through the development of a research project in conjunction with a research mentor. They will then be able to devote 6-12 months to a project, returning to the residency program at its conclusion. It is expected that the data gathered during this hiatus from clinical training will lead to further research as post-doctoral trainees, and beyond. The training program will be conducted by experienced clinical and laboratory research faculty in various departments with a track record in promoting young careers, including but not limited to Neurology, Neuroscience, Bioengineering, and Medicine.
The declining numbers of clinician-scientists is a real threat to the development of new treatments for neurological diseases, as this group populates the ranks of disease-oriented investigators in academia, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies. Part of the reason for this decline is the lengthy training process, with the insecurity of future funding. This program will allow residents in neurology to interrupt their clinical training in order to develop clinical or bench-based skills, and to generate sufficient preliminary data to enhance their transition from residency to faculty positions in research-intensive institutions.