This is a proposal for a new R25 research education award at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). This program will support residents in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuropathology who are pursuing careers combining clinical practice and research, and foster their development as physician-scientists. Over the past two decades, considerable efforts and resources have been devoted to understanding nervous system function in health and disease, and the result has been a vast expansion of knowledge encompassing fundamental discoveries in genetics, genomics, neurochemistry, synaptic plasticity, neural development, and behavior. It is clear, however, that there is an important gap between these advances and applications to human health. There is a pressing need for physician-scientists trained to: i) integrate discoveries about the nervous system from several domains into multi-modal and multi-dimensional frameworks;and ii) formulate translational pathways to apply this knowledge to important biomedical and behavioral problems. The Program Director and Associate Director are both physician-scientists with established track records in research and training. Residents supported by this program will initiate their research during their residency training, and continue it into a period of research fellowship following residency. Participants from all three disciplines (neurology, neurosurgery and neuropathology) will engage in a total of two years in full time research training. Their research experience will e supported by a structured mentoring program along with didactic teaching in professional skills training, grant writing, and responsible conduct of research. The goal of the program will be to enable residents and fellows to develop a career in neurological research, and to prepare them to successfully compete for individual fellowships or mentored career development awards. As an institution, UAB is exceptionally well positioned to undertake research education in the neurosciences, and to develop the physician-scientists who will apply today's discoveries to solve the challenges of the future.
Diseases of the nervous system create a great burden on our citizens and society, and there is a critical need for new treatments and cures. This research education program will educate physician-scientists at the early stages of their training, and provide them with the knowledge needed to address these important public health problems.