The University of Arizona (UA) High School Student NeuroResearch Program (HSNRP) will introduce, train, and nurture a growing cadre of diverse talented Arizona high school students including under-represented minorities in basic, translational, and clinical research on the normal and abnormal nervous system, neurological disorders, and stroke as well as encourage pursuit of advanced research experiences and health/ science-related careers. We will leverage the strong infrastructure, effective recruitment strategies, high level of student/faculty mentor participation, esprit-de-corps, and outstanding trainee productivity of our long-standing federally funded multidisciplinary/multispecialty disadvantaged high school student and medical student summer research programs to develop the training model for this new specialized NeuroResearch (NR) program. Twelve to 14 full-time summer high school trainees annually for the next 5 years will be offered an expanding menu of closely mentored NeuroResearch(NR) experiences;2-4 will be reappointed as under- graduates for advanced NR. These will be integrated into an innovative inquiry-based Summer Institute on Medical Ignorance (SIMI) interweaving biomedical Knowns and Unknowns ("what we know we don't know, don't know we don't know, and think we know but don't") with featured NR topics and sustained by periodic enrichment activities year round. SIMI emphasizes "translating translation" and includes a high school level brief Introduction to Pathobiology, topical seminars, laboratory/leadership/multimedia skill workshops, clinical correlations, social networking, and career advising. A unique Virtual Clinical Research Center/Questionarium forms a centerpiece for training and national/international networking. Within basic and clinical departments and specialized Centers of Excellence and overseen by an energetic HSNRP Leadership Team and Advisory Committee, high school student research will encompass cross-cutting themes and in vivo, in vitro, in situ, in silico, and modeling approaches to neurobiology/disorders including Parkinson, Alzheimer, Niemann-Pick C diseases, ALS, epilepsy, HIV encephalopathy, head trauma, hydrocephalus, muscular dystrophy, pain/ addiction pharmacology, molecular psychiatry, cognition, brain development, senescence, mental retardation, blood-brain barrier/neuroprotection, neuroimaging, neuro-genomics/proteomics, neuroengineering, deep brain stimulation, brain cancer, cerebrovascular disease, stroke, and rehabilitation. Based on our ~25-year track record and established access to large diverse pools of disadvantaged Arizona students reflected in 474 SIMI- trained high school students followed to date with many in basic/clinical NeuroResearch, we expect HSNRP to: cultivate an expanding network of diverse researchers, physicians and other health professionals;contribute to the NeuroResearch pipeline and enterprise;and improve "neurohealth" literacy through community engagement. Ongoing short-term and long-term evaluation including surveys, database registry and career portfolios will document efficacy of the training model and promote networking.
This proposal will develop and implement a model program to recruit, train and mentor a growing cadre of diverse/disadvantaged (including under-represented minority) high school students in biomedical research broadly targeting neurosciences, neurological disorders and stroke. We will energize a career pipeline to promote networking, retention and career progression, thereby contributing to the NIH Roadmap goals of creating the diverse clinical research teams of the future and NINDS's Strategic Plan of advancing translation of medical discoveries in the neurosciences from bench to bedside to community.